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  • New database will identify uninsured drivers

    New database will identify uninsured drivers
    By CAROLYN FEIBEL HOUSTON CHRONICLE
    June 21, 2009, 6:43PM


    Carlos Rodriguez has no patience with uninsured drivers. He pointedly calls them “lowlifes.”

    Are you one of them? State officials estimate that 20 percent of Texas drivers—that’s 4 million—carry no insurance, not even the minimum liability required by law.

    State officials are hoping that a statewide database called TexasSure will help them find and punish these drivers. Basically, any highway trooper or local officer can quickly tap into TexasSure to check insurance status during a routine traffic stop. Drivers who are uninsured can be fined right away, up to $350 for the first offense. (Here's a state FAQ on TexasSure.)

    Rodriguez, 55, is a big cheerleader for TexasSure. He has reason. In 2006, Rodriguez survived a harrowing collision with a drunken driver on a four-lane road in San Marcos. The other driver killed himself and his girlfriend after speeding, losing control on a curve and slamming into Rodriguez’ car.

    The driver, besides being drunk and paying with his life, was also uninsured.

    For Rodriguez, it literally added insult to injury. Potentially, it made him liable for paying for two surgeries and months of physical therapy to learn how to walk again.

    Fortunately, Rodriguez’s wife had added a rider to their car insurance policy that covered them in case the other driver was uninsured. But without that, Rodriguez could have been forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in medical and therapy bills.

    It’s not so much the money, he said, as the moral impact.

    “That really incensed me because it told me he didn’t really care,” Rodriguez said. “He didn’t care about anybody but himself and having a good time.”

    “A lot of these lowlifes say they don’t get insurance because it’s too expensive,” Rodriguez said. “But because they’re driving around without insurance, and they’re involved in wrecks, that’s driving the cost of insurance even higher.”

    After a pilot period, the TexasSure database went statewide in October. Some cities have additional penalties, like impounding the vehicle, when they catch people driving without insurance.

    “Law enforcement has been waiting a long time for this, insurance companies have been waiting a long time for this,” said Tom Vinger, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

    The database, which is refreshed weekly, could put a stop to the “lowlife” trick of buying insurance in order to renew car registration, then dropping it the next day. Rodriguez said the driver who hit him had done this.

    More than 30 other states have some type of verification program to check for auto insurance. Each has seen a reduction in the number of uninsured vehicles on the road.

    “It’s not an immediate result, sometimes it takes several years,” said Melissa Burkhart of the Texas Department of Insurance. “But every state saw a decline.”

    Let’s hope the same happens in Texas.

    Note: You’re required by law to carry proof of insurance in your vehicle. For more information on the minimum coverage required under Texas law go to www.TexasSure.com or call 800-252-3439.

    Source: Houston Chronicle
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  • #2
    I'd love to see that work (having been hit by an uninsured motorist myself!), but I just don't see the cops caring enough about these "small fish" to enforce it. Besides, driving here is a right - the way the majority sees it. Once someone claims "Judge, I can't afford insurance but I still need to get to work - I have 7 kids to feed", the fine will be dropped (or just not paid if it is upheld). I'm sure this sounds cynical, but it is hard to punish someone who has very little to lose. The lowlifes will continue to plague us...

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    • #3
      wow....I can't imagine not having insurance....and certainly find it odd that uninsured/under insured is not required in Texas......it is everywhere I have lived......Heck in Nevada you can not get a vehicle registered without showing proof......and if your insurance lapses they cancel your registration and they will come and get the license plates...

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      • #4
        Bimdub - welcome to Texas! I moved hear from Oregon and my insurance rates doubled. When I ask the agent why, the reason given was the uninsured motorists.

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        • #5
          That would be nice if it worked, but that could be said about many laws that are already on the books.
          Happiness is a nice road, great weather, and driving the S with Sue in the seat next to me.

          "Whatever you do, where ever you go, enjoy the drive."

          I know for a FACT that the last year of production of the S2000 is 2003!!!!!
          After that, it will be the S2200 under an assumed name.

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          • #6
            This isn't going to work. The real number is more like 40%. If you get these people off the road, nobody will build the homes, mow the lawns, etc, etc.... They need to be realistic...

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            • #7
              ^^^ hahaha sad but true.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by kraemer007 View Post
                This isn't going to work. The real number is more like 40%. If you get these people off the road, nobody will build the homes, mow the lawns, etc, etc.... They need to be realistic...
                C'mon, that's a pretty bad stereotype to imply that all these laborers are uninsured and would stay off the roads rather than buy insurance if forced to make a choice!

                My lawn guys are Caucasian American citizens w/ good insurance coverage. They make good money doing it, and have to turn away work.
                Chris



                '13 Civic Si sedan
                '08 Ridgeline RTL
                '02 Z06

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                • #9
                  Pretty hard headed of you to deny a simple fact. Im sure you have cacasians doing your lawn, im also sure you can get it done for half the cost by hiring someone else. Maybe they will have insurance, maybe not. I know for a fact that I have had two good friends and my self who were involved in a accident where the driver was some sort of the border and did not have insurance. Its a pain in the ass and in my situation I did feel bad that the lady had like 10 kids and barely spoke english but still doesnt fix things.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chris S View Post
                    C'mon, that's a pretty bad stereotype to imply that all these laborers are uninsured and would stay off the roads rather than buy insurance if forced to make a choice!

                    My lawn guys are Caucasian American citizens w/ good insurance coverage. They make good money doing it, and have to turn away work.
                    I don't say that as some racist blather, but a statistical fact. There is a reason Houston is holding out in this bad economy and its our migrant labor force. These people don't make a lot of money, and they definitely don't buy insurance.

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                    • #11
                      Guys, not trying to argue that we don't have a problem w/ illegal immigrants or uninsured drivers, no doubt about that. I was just suggesting that maybe it's not fair or representative to paint an entire demographic w/ such a broad brush, that's all.

                      I think all uninsured drivers s/d deported whether they're citizens or not!
                      Chris



                      '13 Civic Si sedan
                      '08 Ridgeline RTL
                      '02 Z06

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chris S View Post
                        Guys, not trying to argue that we don't have a problem w/ illegal immigrants or uninsured drivers, no doubt about that. I was just suggesting that maybe it's not fair or representative to paint an entire demographic w/ such a broad brush, that's all.

                        I think all uninsured drivers s/d deported whether they're citizens or not!
                        Wait, so our overlord scumbag phone companies are "ok" because that's just "business" but the Mexicans that power Texas' economic machine should be deported for no insurance????
                        Man, you have drank the Kool aid!

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                        • #13
                          It's illegal to drive without insurance or reside w/o citizenship or the proper INS permits. It's not illegal for a phone company to charge what the market will bear absent a monopoly.

                          I don't like phone companies or their practices, but nobody is forcing you to do business w/ them...
                          Chris



                          '13 Civic Si sedan
                          '08 Ridgeline RTL
                          '02 Z06

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kraemer007 View Post
                            .....but the Mexicans that power Texas' economic machine should be deported for no insurance????
                            Yes, they should. When one of them hits you and will not pay for damages caused by their own negligence, you'll understand.

                            "It's rocket science but it's well understood rocket science." - Naveen Jain


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                            • #15
                              5% ?!?!?!?!?!?
                              holy cow
                              I'm shocked its that high... and when Tim says 40$
                              good lord...
                              I thought NYC was bad - wow
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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Rocketman View Post
                                Yes, they should. When one of them hits you and will not pay for damages caused by their own negligence, you'll understand.
                                Do not think that I am oblivious. Uninsured motorists definitely suck. That said, I don't believe they will "enforce" mandatory insurance any more than they "enforce" the removal of "illegal aliens".

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                                • #17
                                  only because they do not have the infrastructure in place.....its easy for Nevada.....

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