Getting uninsured drivers off the road
Sometimes it’s harder to make good laws than it sounds.
A perfect example is proposed legislation that would require individuals to provide proof of auto insurance before they could renew their car tag. It’s an effort to further reduce the amount of people who insist on driving without insurance.
When I first heard about the bill, I was all for it. I am one of the many people who have been involved in an accident with someone who had no insurance.
The guy ran a red light and sideswiped me. It was clearly his fault, but he had no insurance and faced absolutely no consequences. My insurance ended up getting stuck with the bill, and ultimately all of us who are responsible enough to carry insurance ended up paying a little more to cover the cost of someone else’s negligence.
That was a long time ago, before the mandatory insurance law was enacted, but Mississippi’s insurance law has a lot more bark than bite. Offenders can purchase insurance after getting caught and walk away with little more than a slap on the wrist. Of course nothing’s stopping them from canceling the policy on their way home from the courtroom.
Requiring proof of insurance to renew your tag sounded like a good idea to me, until I heard Yazoo County Tax Collector Travis Crimm raise some legitimate concerns about the proposed legislation.
For one thing it’s kind of like the current mandatory law. If someone is determined to skirt the law they could simply purchase a policy, renew their tag and then cancel the policy.
But Crimm’s biggest concern would be the cost associated with requiring county tax collector offices to verify proof of insurance. It’s going to take up lots of time for an already busy staff, and may in fact require additional staff.
It would also likely require new computer programs, and the state has a bad habit of mandating things without providing a way to pay for them. It makes them look good, but what’s left unsaid is that the cost is being passed on to the local taxpayer.
In my opinion the best way to solve this problem would be to go back and put some teeth in the mandatory insurance law. Increase the fines, and make it so that once someone is caught driving without insurance it’s too late to reduce the fine.
A lot of people make excuses for people who refuse to purchase insurance. The most common argument is that poor working people can’t afford it, but must get to work.
Liability insurance is very inexpensive and the market is extremely competitive. It doesn’t cost much at all to purchase a premium that will pay for the victims if you are involved in an accident that is your fault.
There’s just no excuse not to have auto insurance. If you can’t afford it, you can’t afford to drive.
Putting the burden on county tax collectors might not be the right answer to the problem, but we need to urge our state lawmakers to keep looking for the solution.