Police stopping innocent motorists for spelling mistakes
By Elliot Wright, 18th February 2010
Police are stopping motorists for making simple registration errors on their insurance applications - and in some cases even confiscating their cars.
Insurance form mistakes, such as transposing letters or numbers or getting an O and 0 mixed up, mean that automatic number plate recognition (anpr) technology, which is increasingly being used in police vehicles and at fixed roadside locations, sometimes won't recognise that the car is insured.
AA Insurance has reported a sharp increase in the number of 'mistaken identity' cases. The number of calls they receive from police verifying the details of a motorist they have stopped has risen from one or two calls per month to more than 20 a week.
Most drivers are usually sent on their way after confirming they're covered. But in extreme cases, innocent motorists are having their cars confiscated until a correct insurance document can be provided along with a statement confirming the car was insured at the time.
To reduce the risk of being stopped for an administrative error the AA is urging motorists to double-check their details when applying for insurance online and to check again when the policy documents arrive in the post.
In extreme cases, innocent motorists are having their cars confiscated until a correct insurance document can be provided
If you spot any mistakes inform your insurer immediately to get the information amended. They also point out that insurance staff can make mistakes too, so when talking to an advisor on the phone ask them to use the phonetic alphabet, such as N-November and M-Mike, to avoid confusion.
Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, says: "It is really important to check that this information is correct - especially the registration number. The data is used to update the national Motor Insurance Database, which is used by the police anpr equipment to check whether your vehicle is covered.
"Simple errors can result in a lot of wasted time and inconvenience for you, the police and your insurer - quite apart from the risk of temporarily having your car confiscated."