Texas Verification Program Finds High Numbers of Uninsured Drivers

July 29, 2008

Texas troopers have stopped more than 5,000 vehicles in their testing phase of the state’s Auto Insurance Verification Program (TexasSure) and thus far, the program has worked flawlessly, the Insurance Council of Texas reported. Unfortunately, 25.5 percent of the vehicles stopped in the Travis County area have been uninsured drivers.

Texas Department of Public Safety troopers began testing the new system on June 2 with a 60-day pilot project in Travis County, along with outlying portions of Williamson and Hays Counties. Troopers say the data provided by insurance companies has been reliable and accurate.

“The program has worked the way it’s supposed to,” said Lt. Louis Sanchez, with the Texas Department of Public Safety. “There have been no surprises and our troopers have confidence in the system.”

With one week remaining in the program’s initial stage, 5,012 drivers have been checked. All uninsured drivers stopped by troopers in this testing phase received citations. Drivers who said they were insured, but weren’t carrying proof of insurance, were validated by the insurance verification program and were not issued citations.

Drivers in Texas are required to carry minimum liability coverage of $25,000 per injured person, $50,000 for everyone injured in an accident, and $25,000 for property damage (25/50/25). The first ticket for non compliance is a fine up to $350. A second offense may bring a fine up to $1,000.

“We welcome the news that the insurance verification program is working well, but the numbers show that Texas has an even larger number of uninsured drivers than we had realized,” said Mark Hanna, a spokesman for the ICT. “Troopers tell us that some areas of the state may have more than half of their drivers uninsured and that’s scary news for everyone else on our roadways. We can only hope that this new program will encourage all uninsured drivers toward obeying the law that requires every motorist to carry liability coverage.”

After the initial pilot project has been completed, the Texas DPS will issue a report with recommendations on how well the program works. When the auto insurance verification program is given the green light, the program will not be mandatory for any law enforcement group, but local police departments and sheriff’s offices are expected to utilize it.

Legislation approved by lawmakers in 2005 directed the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Department of Insurance and the Texas Department of Information Resources to work together in implementing the program.

The auto insurance data is provided by every auto insurance company doing business in Texas. The program is expected to be utilized at state inspections and driver’s license offices. The official start date statewide will be announced after a Texas Department of Public Safety final policy and recommendations have been released.

Source: The Insurance Council of Texas, www.insurancecouncil.org

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