Nurse describes 'horrific' fatal crash after suffering life-changing injuries - as worst areas for uninsured drivers revealed

A nurse who suffered life-changing injuries in a fatal crash with an uninsured driver has told of her "nightmare" ordeal - as the worst areas for motorists without insurance are revealed.

Toni Wallace was on her way to volunteer as a medic at a festival in Bristol when her car was struck by an oncoming vehicle at high-speed near Holnest, Dorset.

The 55-year-old mother-of-one described an "horrific explosion" as the Volkswagen Golf, which had reportedly hit a deer moments before the crash, smashed into her Subaru WRX.

The other driver - a man in his 20s - died at the scene, while Ms Wallace suffered spinal injuries - and doctors told her she may never walk again.

Police have now launched a week-long crackdown on uninsured drivers from today, with officers carrying out extra checks on motorists in problem areas.

Data released by the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) has revealed the worst postal "hotspots" for uninsured drivers - as the organisation warned "those who deliberately flout the law and drive uninsured cause more collisions".

Ms Wallace told Sky News she questioned "am I dead?" in the moments after her crash on the A352 in August 2018.

She said she was travelling at 50mph on the national speed limit road at about 4.45am, while the uninsured motorist was driving at speeds between 90 to 100mph - although Dorset Police told an inquest it could not determine how fast he was driving.

The inquest was told, at the time of the crash, the driver was on the phone to his girlfriend who heard the collision and then travelled to the scene.

Ms Wallace said she thought she was going to die as she waited for the emergency services to arrive.

"The pain was like nothing I could begin to describe… it was the worst thing ever," she said.

"There was a hissing noise. It was really hot and I could smell petrol. I thought the cars were going to explode.

"All I could think about was Princess Diana. When she was in her car accident, she tore a big vessel near her heart… and I was convinced I was going to bleed out.

"I just thought: 'S***, I'm going to die'."

After being taken to hospital, Ms Wallace - who was conscious throughout the ordeal - discovered she had suffered spinal injuries and had broken her pelvis, ribs, thumb and wrist.

She could not feel anything in her legs following the crash until she had surgery, with doctors warning before the 10-hour operation there was a 50% chance she would never walk again.

Ms Wallace remained in hospital for a month before she was discharged and she was unable to work for a year. She also had counselling for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"Mentally I did struggle with it, for quite a time," she said.

"Occasionally I'll smell something and it will take me straight back - it's normally a burning smell or the thick dust smell of the airbags."

Ms Wallace admitted she initially "hated" the other driver for the injuries he had caused her.

"I was so angry. I was raging," she said.

"Now… I do feel sorry for him. I do feel really sorry for him. He didn't deserve to die."

As well as the physical and mental trauma she suffered from the crash, Ms Wallace said she faced a "nightmare" after discovering the other driver was not insured.

"I just thought: 'I can't work. I may never be able to work again. My car's written off. I've got to support this house. I've got this mortgage'. I was 49 years old…what am I going to do?'

"Because he was uninsured, I just had nowhere to go. It was all a nightmare."

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Ms Wallace - who works as an anaesthesia assistant - said she was supported by the MIB, which helps victims of uninsured drivers get compensation.

Data released by the MIB has revealed the UK's 15 worst postal "hotspots" for uninsured drivers - with Leeds city centre now heading the list after Birmingham had been top for a decade.

The analysis is based on more than 18,000 claims from victims of uninsured drivers between November 2021 and October 2023, and is ranked on the number of claims compared to population size.

Here is the MIB's list of 15 worst areas for uninsured drivers:

1. Leeds, LS1
2. Bristol, BS1
3. Salford, M3
4. Manchester, M8
5. Birmingham, B10
6. Birmingham, B18
7. Birmingham, B6
8. Stoke-on-Trent, ST1
9. Manchester, M12
10. Thurrock, Essex, RM18
11. Sandwell, West Midlands, B70
12. Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1
13. Birmingham, B11
14. Bradford, BD4
15. Buckingham, SL0

Paul Farley, national law enforcement manager at MIB, said: "Every day we see innocent road users suffer at the hands of reckless uninsured motorists who never should have been on the road in the first place.

"Tackling this issue isn't just about getting people to pay premiums - we know those who deliberately flout the law and drive uninsured cause more collisions too, so it's about making roads safer and fairer for everyone.

"We work closely with the police throughout the year but there will be an even greater focus on tackling the issue during Operation Drive Insured. Our message is simple: drive insured, or you will be caught."