Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Combatting Uninsured Motorists

Texas authorities are working to combat uninsured motorists. Years ago, Texas adopted laws that required drivers to present proof of insurance when getting their vehicles registered or insured.
“At least every week I have an accident that involves an uninsured or underinsured driver,” said Harper, an 18-year veteran with State Farm Insurance. “It is still a major problem. There are a lot of people that will buy it (automobile insurance) for a week, just to get their car registered, inspected or to get a driver’s license and then they cancel it. They get it for a temporary time and they just drop it.” Source: Temple Daily Telegram

To fight this, the State and the insurance industry developed a system to allow authorities to check the insurance status of motorists in real time.
TexasSure employs a statewide database that matches more than 21 million license plates numbers with insurance information. Rebecca Davio, Texas Department of Transportation director of vehicle titles and registration, said 3 million queries are made monthly to TexasSure.

Senior Cpl. Charlie Morgan of the Department of Public Safety office that covers Temple, Killeen and Waco, said this program helps catch these insurance cheaters. When a trooper stops a motorist or investigates an accident, he checks the license number and insurance card. If the vehicle is uninsured, the trooper will issue a citation.

“When we run what we call a 10-28, it comes up on our screen and shows the information,” Morgan said. “Most of the time it’s the vehicle that’s covered and not the driver. That’s the reason it was tied in with the vehicle data base and not the driver data base.”

Another way to catch people who drive vehicles with expired or canceled automobile insurance happens at the county level when a motorist applies for vehicle registration. Even if that person displays a current insurance card, the clerk accesses the TexasSure system. If the insurance is not valid, no window sticker or new plates will be issued. Source: Temple Daily Telegram

Rather than just rely on punitive measures such as ticketing the uninsured, this comprehensive approach looks promising.

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