Roll The Dice And Drive?

Pinched by a down economy many drivers are choosing to drive with no car insurance. Nation-wide over 14% of drivers have no insurance and it is expected that we will see over 16% ( nearly 1 in 6 drivers ) by year’s end. Others are cutting their liability coverage to levels too low to adequately protect themselves or the people they hit.

New Hampshire and Wisconsin are the only 2 states that don’t require liability insurance. The uninsured in the other 48 states run the risk of fines, fees, and the possibility of losing their license.

States with No-Fault allow for victims of an accident to sue these drivers and collect from assets and even garnishee future earnings. This is a risk that goes beyond the at fault driver’s own repair and medical costs.

Having no liability insurance is risky business for both the person who chooses to economize in this fashion and for innocent victims of accidents.

I have to pay additional premiums so that I have coverage should I be involved in an accident with either unisured or underinsured drivers.

What do you think should be done about this spreading epidemic?

In our state as with others, you can’t register your car w/o proof of insurance incl. liability on the car. The insurance company is suppose to alert the state that liability insurance is not up to date…this is suppose to result in suspension of lic. I would suggest that at least in those states, POs ask for this insurance card that includes liability coverage as well as license and registration at all stops…the word will get out.
If card can’t be produce, a summons can be written and discarded later by producing proof of insurance covering date of stop at the appropriate place later. What could be more fair ?

“I would suggest that at least in those states, POs ask for this insurance card that includes liability coverage as well as license and registration at all stops”

That is standard operating procedure in NJ. Do you mean to tell me that police officers in other states do not ask for proof of insurance when making a motor vehicle stop? That would seem to be a mighty big error in procedure, IMHO.

As an example from my area, this is from today’s Police Blotter:

DRIVING AN UNINSURED VEHICLE, 4:10 a.m. April 2: Police said a 2009 Nissan sedan driven by John B_______, 37, of Matawan was traveling on Route 22 West near Petticoat Lane when it veered off of the road and struck a utility pole. B______ said he swerved to avoid a deer that ran into the roadway, police said. B______ was charged with driving an uninsured vehicle, according to police. The vehicle had to be towed.

In NJ, driving an uninsured vehicle is a Moving Violation, which means that it carries points toward license suspension, as well as hefty fines. If I recall correctly, the penalty for driving an uninsured vehicle in NJ is $500.

From the website of The NJ Motor Vehicle Commission:

Insurance requirements
All vehicles registered in New Jersey require three types of mandatory insurance:

Liability insurance pays others for damages that you cause if you are responsible for an accident. It does not cover medical expenses.

Personal injury protection (PIP) pays medical expenses if you or other persons covered under your policy are injured in an automobile accident. Often called No Fault coverage, it pays your medical expenses if you were or were not at fault.

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you are in an accident with someone who doesn?t have proper insurance coverage

Required documents
Your insurance company must give you a New Jersey Insurance Identification Card for each vehicle under your policy.

You must keep the card in the vehicle and present it:
Before an inspection
When involved in an accident
When stopped for a traffic violation
When you are stopped in a spot check by a police officer
Failure to present the card may result in fines.

Driving an uninsured vehicle may result in fines, community service, license suspension and insurance surcharges.

Copyright ? State of New Jersey, 2007
New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission
P.O. Box 160
Trenton, NJ 08666
(609) 292-6500 or toll free in NJ (888) 486-3339
TTY (609) 292-5120

Last Updated: January 13, 2009

Well, I think New Hampshire and Wisconsin should require liability insurance. After all, you can be penniless, drive an old beater, and cause millions of dollars worth of damage and loss of life.

Regarding the other 48 states, the solution seems simple. If the insurance is allowed to lapse, seize the license plates. This can be done without costing the state anything. Just put out a $50 bounty per license plate. Someone who needs the money (maybe even the owner of the car) will remove and turn-in the plate. If someone gets pulled over without legal coverage, the police officer should be able to confiscate the plates, call a tow truck to impound the car, and turn the plates in for the $50 bounty. Then when the owner gets insurance, he or she pays $50 plus a processing fee (to cover administrative costs) to get the plate back.

If a driver chooses to carry only what is required by law, that is a choice to assume the risk of losing the vehicle if it is damaged beyond drivability.

It seems some people have the mentality that they have a God given right to drive, even if they can’t afford the required coverage. That mentality can have dire consequences, and that is the way it should be. After all, there are alternatives. Before I had a driver’s license in high school, I rode my bicycle more than 30 miles to attend a magnet school across town. (I was in training for a l50 mile ride.) Full insurance coverage for both of my motorcycles costs less than $200 per year. If you think people can’t ride a motorcycle in bad weather, you are wrong. They make gear for riding snowmobiles that you can use on a motorcycle. They sell kits for putting studs in motorcycle tires. See the picture below.

These are hard times. When my grandparents and great grandparents lived through the Great Depression, they had to take drastic measures in order to make it. They had to make sacrifices to get by that made life more difficult. Today’s generation has a sense of entitlement that the greatest generation lacked. That lack of a sense of entitlement allowed them to do what had to be done without whining about not being able to drive. If they had to go ten miles to find work, they walked ten miles, or walked five miles to catch a bus, which often meant waking in the wee hours of the morning and leaving before the sun came up after bathing in cold water.

Let’s face it. Most people can get by by making simple sacrifices. The problem is that they are making foolish choices as they try to cut corners, while thinking they will be lucky enough to get away with it. If they have to pay for their foolish choices for the rest of their lives, that is the way it should be. Choices are supposed to have consequences.

“That is standard operating procedure in NJ. Do you mean to tell me that police officers in other states do not ask for proof of insurance when making a motor vehicle stop? That would seem to be a mighty big error in procedure, IMHO.”

Obviously it is a problem in OP’s mind; but not in NJ if police are doing their job ? You still get lot’s of drivers in OP’s opinion that are driving w/o insurance like others would drive w/o registration.
It’s always a problem of execution, not policy…just because it’s a policy does not mean it’s executed satisfactorily.
When I was a police officer, it wasn’t required. I assume it is now here, like in NJ, that was my point. But it still, has to be enforced beyond that. Personally, I think there is a break down between insurance companies, notification of failure to pay and inforcement on that end then with POs…let’s face it, not everyone gets pick up and is required to show ins. card and to banter whether police are doing their job or not, is not solving the problem.
The solutions lie elsewhere as well…

Not carrying liability insurance is false economy. I have no sympathy for those who choose to forgo it and then have an accident. Sort of a live by the sword, die by the sword thing. On a related note, when I stopped working for Nissan and started working for another company that sells electronics from a big blue box, I was paying $1100 a month for my own health insurance, but going through life without it would be asking for trouble. Same situation with car insuranace

Like all enforcement, the elimination of illegal practices lie in the assurance of being caught. At some time, an electronic device, indicating the legality of your vehicle may be a scary but necessary option. Car isn’t insured, car doesn’t start…operator not in possession of legal operator requirements, car doesn’t start, and so on.

Well, in NJ, it is executed vigorously, and I like that. Our car insurance costs in this state hover between the highest and the second or third highest in the nation, depending on which year’s statistics you look at. So, any method of getting uninsured drivers off of the road, along with those who drive under the influence of intoxicating substances, is to be commended, IMHO.

The old trick is to get a policy in order to register a car, and then stop making payments, so requiring someone to show proof of insurance is only part of the solution to the problem. Car insurance companies have to become much better about reporting canceled policies to the state police departments in each state.

As was already said, driving is a privilege–not a right. When someone chooses to put other people’s lives in danger by driving recklessly and/or by not carrying proper insurance, I want him/her to be taken off of the road.

I agree with you, but lets face it. People feel that they have the good given right to drive when they are near blind, deaf, drunk, eating, texting, et cetera.

It mostly comes down to a feeling of entitlement. How many of the people who decided to skip out on car insurance also decided to keep their cell phones and cable.