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Bob Haase's Another Can Of Worms

05-Dec-2013

Unlicensed and Uninsured Drivers

It is amazing how many people are driving on our highways today without a valid driver's license or insurance on their vehicles.  In Wisconsin it is estimated that 15 percent of the people driving on our highways do not carry the mandatory automobile liability insurance.  If they get caught they can lose their license, but many of the same people that do not have insurance also do not have a drivers license or carry proper vehicle registration.   You can't take their drivers license away if they don't have one and they continue to drive without a license or insurance.  The rules we have regulating driving without the mandatory insurance or a drivers license is not working.

Way back in 1945 the state of Wisconsin enacted the motorists/safety responsibility law to protect people that are involved in an accident with anyone that doesn't carry the necessary insurance.  The law suspends the drivers license and vehicle registration privileges of anyone that is involved in an accident without insurance and does not pay the damages.  The problem is that these people continue to drive without a driver's license,  vehicle registration, or insurance.  The victim has problems collecting for damages because the person at fault does not have the financial ability to pay.  Even if the victim carries uninsured motorist on their policy, it usually cost them for co-pays and other related expenses that can result in thousands of dollars.

Another part of this is that all drivers that carry insurance and have uninsured motorists coverage ends up paying for the negligence of those that do not carry insurance.  When you pay your premium you are also paying additional for those that are driving without insurance.  It is also my understanding that if the case is not settled within one year, the case is dropped by the state of Wisconsin on the driver not carrying the insurance so they basically get away without being penalized. 

Some might argue that it isn't fair to require those that can't obtain insurance because of their bad driving records or those that can't afford the higher premiums as a result of the bad driving records to carry insurance.  That person was responsible for their bad driving records and the outcome being their inability to obtain insurance is also their responsibility which may result in their loss of driving privileges.  Everything we do in life carries with it consequences and driving is not a constitutional right, it is a privilege that can be granted or removed.

Is this ok?  Should we be concerned that anyone can drive without a license or insurance with little or no consequences?  How do we stop people from driving without a license or insurance or should we?

Do you mind paying more for your insurance because of them?

I think we should get tougher with this problem and confiscate any vehicle where the driver does not have a valid driver's license or the vehicle does not carry the necessary insurance.  You might argue that this not only affects the driver, but it could also affect other people or members of a household that use that vehicle.  I might also argue that if that vehicle does not carry insurance that they should not be driving it either.  If this was the first offense, the vehicle could be returned after payment of a sizeable fine.  For all second or more offenses or the failure to pay the fine, the vehicle would be sold with the money going to the state of Wisconsin.  This may sound tough and I think it should be because what we are doing now is not working.  You may have a better idea which would be great because if everyone tries to come up with a better solution we might find one! 

Bob Haase is the host of “Outdoors Thursday” heard Thursday mornings at 9:10 a.m. on News-Talk 1450 KFIZ.

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