Wednesday, September 05, 2007

More on Mandatory Auto Insurance

Right after the "Take Back Our Highways" campaign I wrote a blog post called Let me see your papers. I also had letters about it published in the Tuscaloosa News, the Mobile Press-Register, the Montgomery Advertiser and the Anniston Star

The Birmingham News carried a piece today titled State drivers short on coverage which states that Alabama is tied with California for second place for the highest number of uninsured drivers.

It goes on to say,
Financial resources sometimes play a role in whether motorists are insured, Richards said. "More motorists are insured in affluent counties, but fewer motorists are insured in the counties that aren't as blessed," the trooper said.

Which brings us back to my original problem with mandatory auto insurance.

1. Some people cannot afford auto insurance. I feel pretty certain that most people would buy auto insurance if they could afford it. No one wants to chance being involved in an accident where they might not only lose their only mode of transportation but might also be badly injured and might badly injure others thereby putting themselves at risk for losing anything and everything they own. But, fact is they cannot afford an extra $50 or $60 or more a month. It does not exist.

2. Fining people without auto insurance a whopping $500 is insane. If they had $500 just laying around then they probably would have had insurance. Not only do they still not have insurance they now have a huge court fine to pay with money they don't have. If they are able to beg and borrow the $500 shouldn't that go towards the insurance coverage that is so important that it is now mandatory? Here is what happens if you can't pay the fine.

3. In response to some of my lte's in those various papers people said, "Use public transportation", but there is no public transportation in rural areas. Others said, "Insurance is cheap" but $50 to $60 is a lot of money if you don't have it.

We have a real problem here with a law that disproportionately affects the impoverished citizens of this state. I won't deny that people need auto insurance. But, if some people can't afford it, it is wrong to impose additional financial burden on them, make it illegal/impossible for them to travel to and from work and other places one needs to travel to carry out day to day life functions, especially in areas where there is no public transportation available.

Just what exactly are poor people suppossed to do?

I am glad to see this blurb in the Birmingham News and I hope that other papers will continue to cover this issue in order to foster discussion about solutions.


Anonymous said...

Well, im not from the US of A, and in my country there is madatory auto insurance, in this coutry we pay 6.20 USD per gallon of gas, and the minimum wage is 620 USD/month and the fines are quite heavy for not having insurance.
I just wrote this comment because i felt the effects of getting my car wrecked by a joe without insurance, result: I was the one who got screwed. lost my car, lost my money, and the joe kept on going like it was nothing.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see insurance required by government with laws, that it be provided and operated in a non-profit way as the post office, USPS, is required to provide postal service to all homes.

Seperating traffic control from policing, so that officers writing tickets don't have to worry about having to try to take people with warrants into custody, fearing that anyone could go Bonney and Clyde on them at any time.

Taxing gasoline would insure all vehicles are insured. Traffic enforcement would have a more personal interest in traffic safety, rather than just having their retirement invested in insurance companies.

If government required insurance were applied to the insurance required of employers and businesses such as resturants, it would leave the owners in more inspired position to self regulaste.

bodagetta said...

I think taxing gasoline to provide insurance for all people is almost as bad of an idea as the social security tax. I have a low insurance premium because I have a safe driving record. I do not want to have to pay for everyone else's insurance through a government tax on gasoline.

I sympathize with people who cannot afford auto insurance. However, the fact remains that I do not want to be involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist. It is even more unfair that I have to pay for damage caused by the fault of someone else.

Don Birkholz said...

Go to and you will see several states with food stamp skyrockets linked to auto insurance laws.

You will also see a food stamp survey done in Billings, MT, in which 12 of 96 food stamp applicants listed auto insurance as a reason for needing food stamps. (that equals some 30,000 over the past 20 years in Montana.)