Article Comment 

Bill targeting uninsured motorists sent to governor


Garthia Elena Burnett



Lawmakers are targeting the 28 percent of Mississippi motorists who are uninsured. 


Legislation making it tougher for uninsured drivers to remain on the highways and byways is on its way to the governor for final approval. 


House Bill 620 would establish a statewide computer database tracking whether or not vehicles are insured. 


"Instead of looking at you''re (insurance) card ... they''re going to be able to pull up your tag number and determine whether or not you have insurance on your car," explained Rep. Gary Chism, R-Columbus, who authored the bill with 57 co-authors. 


Uninsured motorists also would not be able to get a license plate. 


The bill imposes stiff penalties for driving without the minimum-required liability insurance -- license suspension and a fine of up to $500. 


"Twenty-eight percent of the folks in Mississippi don''t have liability insurance, and we''re hoping to cut it down to 8 to 10 by doing this," said Chism, who noted the 72 percent of drivers who have insurance end up turning to their own insurance company when they are in a collision with an uninsured motorist. 


And as far as people who say they can''t afford insurance, Chism begs to differ. 


"I bet almost every single one of those people who says they can''t afford it have cable TV and a cell phone, both of which cost more than (auto insurance), if you''re of age and have a good driving record," he said. "It costs about 300 a year for just liability insurance. That''s $25 a month. 


"This is just really going to put teeth in Mississippi''s financial responsibility law. We''ve had that on the books since 1954," he continued. 


State law requires at least coverage of at least $25,000 per individual for bodily injury ($50,000 per accident) and $25,000 in property damage. 


Currently, law enforcement only monitors drivers'' insurance if they have had a collision and caused property damage or bodily injury and were uninsured. Thereafter, uninsured drivers are required to get auto insurance and are monitored; their license is suspended if the insurance expires. 


One issue with only having cards to check for valid insurance is, the policy may have lapsed for non-payment, but the card may still have a valid date, Chism added.




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Reader Comments

Article Comment ms_citizen commented at 3/25/2011 11:43:00 AM:

Thank you Mr. Chism I couldn't agree more. Not only do they have tv cable and cell phones they have internet either on the phone or at home.

I never liked having to pay for "uninsured motorist" that is like saying it is okay for them not to have insurance because the ones that do take the responsibility to pay for auto insurance are saying "it is okay, our insurance will cover you."


Article Comment hope commented at 3/25/2011 4:34:00 PM:

Why not require everyone to have healthcare insurance and enforce it also. I never liked paying for health insurance for the ones who do not have it.


Article Comment observer2 commented at 3/25/2011 8:05:00 PM:

Poor hope. If your president would make his filthy rich buddies pay taxes, GE for instance, all that money could with no problem at all insure everybody. He is making like it's the repubs who are for giving the rich corps tax breaks when it's him and the other dasterdly liberal dems who are doing it. All you got from the joke of a stimulas bill was 250 bucks and his rich buddies got millions and billions and then they don't have to pay taxes. What a disgrace!! Then you can't wait to vote for him again , another disgrace!!


Article Comment hope commented at 3/26/2011 6:47:00 AM:

And the Republican Tea Party claims President Obama is anti-business. How can they be so ignorant of the facts, and they want to be President. Sad, so sad!


Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 3/26/2011 7:01:00 AM:

Uh, brain-dead Democrats and Republicans, this is about people driving without car insurance, this isn't an opportunity for you two clowns to start up the whole "us and them" nonsense that our political system has become.

All that is going to result from this bill is uninsured motorist will be stealing the tags off other cars. Once again, blind politicians don't seem to be able to see that you cannot legislate morality. You can write all the bills you want, but if someone is bent on doing that which you forbid, then that is what they will do. Just like prohibition, just like pot/meth, just like prostitution, etc.

When you finally decide to get serious about people who drive without responsibility, you'll realize the only way to really deal with them is to jail them.


Article Comment hope commented at 3/26/2011 8:12:00 AM:

Bill targeting uninsured motorists sent to governor. How did they know where to send it? The only reason this bill saw the light of day is because of the lobbyists for the insurance companies, who will charge them an outrageous premium because most of them are high risks.


Article Comment newsjunkie commented at 3/26/2011 8:59:00 AM:

Can they close the other loopholes,too? Had an accident with uninsured motorist, and he was at fault. We paid damages to our car through our own insurance. Other driver was ticketed. Judge told him to buy 90 day insurance, pick up some trash in a park, and he let him go. NO money out of pocket for him except the insurance, which he should have had in the first place!!!


Article Comment ckirby commented at 3/26/2011 10:14:00 AM:

Unfortunately, restitution is rarely awarded to victims and hardly ever enforced when it is. The loss of income and wages due to physical assaults, loss of property due to vandalism, theft and robbery, the damage done by criminals, including those people who drive without insurance and cause accidents, is just more pain and loss to be borne by the victims. It's said that ten percent of the criminals commit ninety percent of the crimes, yet when it comes to collecting fines and enforcing restitution, the state says it can't locate these people who it says burden the state's legal system over and over and over again. How much sense does that make?


Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 3/27/2011 6:43:00 AM:

For this state it is par.


Article Comment ms_citizen commented at 3/29/2011 8:21:00 AM:

They should be forced not only to pick up trash and get a 90 day insurance policy they should also be forced to pay the insurance company back so we can keep our insurance rates at an affordable level. Have their wages garnished and if they are unemployed make them work it off.


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