A planned crackdown on uninsured drivers in Texas has been sidelined.
State officials opted to delay a program to verify whether
vehicle owners have auto insurance. As signed into law a year ago, the Texas
Department of Insurance, in consultation with other agencies, is to establish a
verification program to check for insurance.
The state has put the program on hold for one year while it
tries to figure out a way to manage 15 million drivers with their insurers and
avoid ticketing, or even arresting, drivers because of bad information, The
Dallas Morning News reported.
The insurance industry estimates that Texas drivers shell
out about $900 million annually to protect themselves against uninsured
The program allows law enforcement officials, vehicle
inspection stations and others to instantly verify whether drivers have at
least the minimum coverage required under state law. The verification would
come through either a central database or a Web site.
While the departments of insurance, transportation and
public safety work on setting up the program, Texas drivers will continue to
pay a $1 fee in their license renewals to pay for the program, The
Associated Press reported.
State Sen. Todd Staples, R-Palestine, who authored the bill
to create the program, said he is frustrated the program hasn’t been put in
place yet. But he said he understands it’s more important to make sure the
program isn’t a detriment to law-abiding drivers.