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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Uninsured motorists are driving costs up

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Did you see the audit last week that shows law-abiding Missourians pay $90 million a year extra to cover costs of uninsured motorists? That means that we each pay about $23 per vehicle extra just to cover those motorists who do not have insurance.

It's time to put a halt to this.

State Auditor Claire McCaskill said improvements are needed in our system of checks and balances to assure that all motorists have adequate insurance as the law mandates. But much of the audit is off the mark. For example, the audit cites rentals, commercial and fleet vehicles as some of those without an audit of their insurance coverage. And though I'm sure that's true, I don't believe that's the real issue here.

Let me state clearly - I don't have a solution. But until we have a greater degree of accountability, people will continue to ignore the law. And their actions will continue to cost the remainder of motorists. We all know, that's just not right.

Here's one way that I'm told motorists avoid providing insurance coverage. I'm told that many motorists purchase a six-month auto insurance policy and pay the first month. That provides proof of insurance to register their vehicle or to renew their tags. Once they have that done, they cancel their auto insurance and join the list of uninsured motorists. If they are not caught, they repeat the process when it's time to visit the license bureau again.

For starters, many of these violators are low-income residents. So upping the fine for a violation may not accomplish a great deal. And often, pulling their license would only bring another violation because they would be likely to violate that law as well. What we might try is to impound their vehicles. Rest assured, that would send a strong signal.

All things considered, $90 million out of your pocket and mine is just too much to pay for the lack of responsibility on the part of others. And since it's the law, we need to make certain that more people are following the rules. One of those rules is that we have adequate auto insurance coverage. Since people won't change, we need to change to law to make the punishment

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