DALLAS, TX –Despite the financial responsibility law that requires Texas drivers to buy insurance, millions of motorists in the Dallas metroplex are skirting the requirement by using counterfeit proof-of-insurance cards or canceling coverage once they get their licenses renewed. Officials are finding that the law, designed to ensure that minimum liability coverage is in place to pay for injuries and damages caused by the driver, is difficult to enforce.
Alarmingly, a recent analysis released by the Texas Department of Insurance shows that 26 percent of vehicles in Dallas County are uninsured. That amounts to around 482,000 cars and trucks—the highest number of uninsured vehicles in any of the state’s large urban counties. An additional 4.1 million cars and trucks lack basic liability coverage and are in violation of the state law that requires insurance.
Local cities and the state are doing their best to combat the problem. For example, in cities like Arlington, Dallas, Garland, Irving, and Mesquite, uninsured vehicles may be towed if a driver is stopped for a violation and found to have no insurance.
When a driver is involved in an accident or stopped for an infraction, an officer can enter the license plate number or VIN into the TexasSure system to verify insurance coverage. This is a massive database containing the names of all insured drivers and their insurance companies that is linked to license plate VIN numbers. Drivers without insurance are ticketed, subject to a fine of up $350 for the first offense, and up to $1,000 for the second offense. Multiple offenses without action on the part of the owner can lead to arrest.
At the state level, the Insurance Department is sending letters to approximately 100,000 drivers who are believed to have insurance policies, but do not have their vehicle registration numbers matched up with an insurance company in the TexasSure state database. These individuals are being asked to verify their coverage by mail, e-mail or telephone. Once the information from those drivers is compiled, the state will send warnings to millions of drivers without insurance that they are breaking state law.
Despite these efforts to force all drivers to carry insurance, responsible drivers are saddled with carrying extra insurance to protect themselves from drivers without coverage to the tune of nearly $1 billion each year. That additional insurance such as Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM), Underinsured Motorist Insurance (UIM), and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) can mean the difference between being able to afford medical treatment for injuries from an auto accident and not.
Our Dallas personal injury law firm offers free initial legal consultations on personal injury cases. If you have been injured by a driver that is uninsured, you should contact a Dallas, Texas personal injury lawyer immediately to help you determine what insurance coverage may be available to cover your medical expenses and lost wages, and so that you can take steps to protect your legal rights. Call Injury Lawyer Kristopher Barber at (972) 231-5800 or click here to contact us by email.