New Oklahoma Law Expected To Cut Down Number Of Uninsured Drivers
TULSA, Oklahoma - A new law is expected to cut down the number of uninsured drivers in Oklahoma. It gives law enforcement power to force a driver to buy insurance.
We put out the call Thursday, looking for people who have had run-ins with uninsured drivers, and it didn't take long before we had a number of responses, all of them say something needs to be done to force drivers to get insurance.
"It frustrates me, because I do the right thing, I work and I pay my insurance, and all he got were some tickets," Tulsa resident Meghan Bretz said.
Bretz lost the back window on her SUV when she was hit by an uninsured driver two years ago.
It cost her $3,000 for repairs, although she later worked out a deal with the driver to cover the cost, but the biggest fallout had to do with her insurance rates.
"My insurance went up. I'm still on my parents insurance, as a matter of fact, because it's too expensive for me to get mine on my own right now," Bretz said.
The Coalition Against Uninsured Drivers says 24 percent of Oklahomans do not have car insurance.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department reports that costs the state close to $9 million every year in lost premiums.
A new law is expected to chip away at that problem. It gives law enforcement the the right to seize the license plate from an uninsured vehicle.
The plate goes to the local courthouse and the driver will get a sticker that provides temporary insurance for 10 days. The driver must buy insurance during that time or pay a big fine. If they don't buy insurance they don't get their license plate back.
"I like that idea, I like that idea," Bretz said. "It would, hopefully, crack down on some of the uninsured motorists and make them do the right thing. It's not that expensive to just get liability insurance."
The new law is modeled after one in Louisiana that the Oklahoma Insurance Department says saw the uninsured motorist rate drop by more than half in that state.
Bretz hopes the same happens in Oklahoma, so other drivers don't have to go through the same as she did.
"Since the new law will go into effect, it might actually help with that. I know a lot of people just say, 'Oh, I'm a good driver. It won't happen to me.' But you never know what will happen," she said.
The cost of the 10-day temporary insurance will not be paid by taxpayers. Instead, it will come from fines and a fund that insurance companies will contribute.