New Texas bill challenges uninsured motorists

| Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The number of uninsured motorists in Texas may soon be significantly reduced, thanks to a bill currently in committee before the Texas House of Representatives.

The bill, which was introduced March 10 by Rep. Bill Callegari, R-Katy, establishes a motor vehicle responsibility program to reduce the number of uninsured motorists within the state. The program would allow the Department of Public Safety to verify car owners’ continual insurance coverage, while still maintaining their privacy.

Although Texas law already requires all drivers to carry auto insurance policies, Callegari said in a press release that one in five Texas drivers is driving uninsured. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, uninsured motorists cost Texas drivers approximately $861 million in premiums.

The bill is similar to a 2003 plan, which passed with overwhelming support in the Texas House, but failed to meet deadlines in the senate.

Twenty-seven other states have passed legislation similar to the proposed Texas bill. According to Callegari, these states’ average uninsured motorist rate fell from 26 percent to 9 percent after its implementation.

“Ideally, this bill should be unnecessary because drivers ought to play by the rules, and enjoy the privilege of driving on Texas roads and highways while under the coverage of an auto insurance policy,” Callegari said in the release. “But that is not the reality here.”

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