A new law targeting uninsured motorists will help decrease the number of Oklahomans who drive without insurance. That’s according to Sen. Corey Brooks and Rep. Mike Christian, R-Oklahoma City, who co-authored House Bill 1792. The two joined Gov. Mary Fallin for a ceremonial bill signing at the state Capitol last week.
The new law gives law enforcement the authority to remove the tag from an uninsured vehicle and replace it with a temporary sticker that would be good for ten days. During that period the driver would have minimum insurance coverage. Once the driver pays a mandatory $125 administrative fee, which would fund the 10 day coverage, and provide proof of insurance, the tag would be returned.
“One in four drivers in our state is uninsured,” said Brooks, R-Washington. “That means higher premiums for drivers who obey the law, so the rest of us are paying the price. If you are hit by an uninsured driver, you can be left holding the bag for even more. The whole idea behind this new law is to make sure that happens less often in our state.”
HB 1792 is based on similar measures in Louisiana and South Carolina. Before each state adopted the temporary sticker law, the two states had uninsured motorist rates of about 30 percent. Now, Louisiana has a rate of 12 to 13 percent, and South Carolina’s is just eight to nine percent.
“As a retired State Trooper, I know first-hand that uninsured drivers are a big problem for our state,” said Christian, R-Oklahoma City. “Not only does it result in higher rates for everyone else, but it costs the state about $9 million in lost revenues that could be used for public safety, education and better roads. Getting more drivers to comply with the law will benefit all of us.”
The new law will officially take effect beginning November 1, 2013.