Cracking down on uninsured drivers

July 9, 2008 6:23:56 PM PDT
It's a problem that you are probably paying for. Now one city is getting tough on uninsured drivers with a new plan that could save all of us a lot of money.Getting into an accident with someone who doesn't have insurance and sticking you with the bill is a nightmare. In fact uninsured drivers cost Texans one billion dollars a year.

These types of drivers have done a little more than test Pasadena Pastor Royce Measures' faith.

"I got tired of paying insurance premiums, so someone else can get on without it," he said.

Some of us may've gotten tired a little before he did. He's had five collisions with uninsured drivers over the years.

The last one was a driver running a red light which totaled his truck.

"The car was insured, but his dad had excluded him on the policy," Pastor Measures said.

Frustrating yes, but it's not costly for him anymore. Measures has uninsured motorist coverage.

"That's the best money you pay," Measures said.

Angel Yanez doesn't.

"He don't have nothing," Yanez said.

Yanez was on Gulf Bank when an uninsured driver slammed into his truck. The $6,000 in damages is a third his annual salary. The driver that hit him had an insurance card, but stopped paying the premium a month into the policy.

Yanez had to buy a new truck. He is out the $6,000. The guy who hit him was able to drive home without even getting a ticket.

The state of Texas estimates somewhere 20% of drivers on Texas roads don't have insurance. So if you have it, chances are the person driving on the left or the right of you doesn't. It costs us a billion dollars a year.

"My decision is to enforce the law," said Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell.

Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell got tired of hearing the stories.

"You can give people tickets and then they can hit someone on the way home," he said.

So within days of becoming mayor this winter, he told the police chief to start towing cars found without insurance.

"It's working great," the mayor said. "So far we've towed 500 cars in four months."

You don't get it back until you have a policy and pay for the towing and storage.

Dallas just did the same thing weeks ago. Houston doesn't even have it on the radar.

"I don't understand why more cities don't enforce the law," Mayor Isbell told us.

He is and his citizens say they love it. Even a pastor who admits it's a little tough love on the side of the highway. The Pasadena program impounds three cars every day.

Experts say your best defense against uninsured drivers is to buy uninsured motorist insurance. It's an option on most insurance policies.

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