'Stupid driver' provision sought in Arizona

| Monday, January 16, 2006

An Arizona state lawmaker wants to punish drivers who have their vehicles stolen after they forget to take their keys with them – and that includes big trucks.

Sen. Linda Gray, R-Phoenix, would allow insurance companies to reject claims if they can prove the keys were left anywhere in the vehicle, not just the ignition.

The bill also would allow insurers to refuse to pay for items stolen from vehicles in similar circumstances. The problem, said Gray, is people being “stupid.”

She told “Land Line Now” the rule is needed to help stop “individuals from contributing to making it so easy for somebody to jump in and steal a vehicle by leaving it running when they run into the store.”

Arizona ranks second nationally in terms of the rate of auto thefts. A spokesman for the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority said the agency estimates 20 percent of stolen vehicles were unlocked at the time.

The agency estimates no more than 2 percent of all stolen vehicles were left running.

“How many times have we seen where the kids are in the car and the parent has left the vehicle running?” she asked, according to The Arizona Daily Star. “And then we have to put out an Amber Alert because of that.”

Gray said the problem affects all drivers, even those who are conscientious, because of higher auto theft insurance rates that result for everyone.

SB1059 is in three Senate panels awaiting consideration.

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