Uninsured Drivers In Dallas And Fort Worth

It just makes you mad! Most drivers in Dallas, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Arlington, Mansfield, De Soto, Duncanville, Weatherford, Azle, Aledo, and throughout Texas do the right thing by maintaining liability coverage on their automobiles. But, way too many drivers are on the road without insurance.
The Dallas Morning News ran an article on Saturday, July 17, 2010, addressing this subject. The article is written by Terrence Stutz. The title of the article is, TexasSure program finds about 25 percent of vehicles uninsured in Dallas County.
This article points to a scary statistic. This stastistic is that 25 percent of all vehicles in Dallas County, according to records, 429,478 cars and trucks, remain without liability insurance. This statistic comes from the Texas Department of Insurance.
Records of this type are availble because of a fairly new program in Texas called, TexasSure. This is a system to verify insurance coverage. When a driver is involved in an accident or stopped for an infraction, the law enforcement officer can enter the license plate number and vehicle identification number (VIN) into the TexasSure system to verify insurance coverage.
Those drivers identified without insurance are ticketed, subject to a fine of up to $350 on the first offense and up to $1,000 and posible suspension of their license on the second offense. Those who rack up multiple offenses and take no action are subject to arrest.
According to the Dallas Morning News article, Dallas County has the highest percentage of uninsured vehicles of the six largest urban counties in Texas. Tarrant County has about 21.6 percent of its vehicles uninsured.
As bad as the above numbers are, they have improved in recent years. Officials are unsure if the improvement is due to the TexasSure program. The program is funded by an annual $1 fee paid by all Texans when renewing vehicle registrations. Of course, drivers not having basic liability coverage is what forces responsible drivers to purchase uninsured motorist coverage to protect themselves against the unresponsible drivers on the roads and highways.
The article tells us that the south Texas counties are the ones with the highest percentages of uninsured vehicles, with almost 32 percent of vehicles uninsured in Cameron County. But this is down about 6 percentage points from less than a year ago.
A big stick the State hits people with is a surcharge for not having vehicles insured. The Public Safety Commission imposes surcharges on drivers of uninsured vehicles of up to $250 a year. There are also surcharges for driving violations and driving while intoxicated convictions, along with a whole bunch of other violations.
The TexasSure verification program relies on a massive database containing the names of all insured drivers and their insurance companies, matched to their license plates and VINs.
One problem the program has had is that such a large number of people have had these surcharges placed on them that they have simply refused to pay. This results in a license suspension and more surcharges and reinstatement fees that low income people cannot afford to pay. As a result, and in an effort to get people to be compliant, the Commission is adopting new rules lowering the costs to indigent people. Indigents would be those making less than $14,000 per year.