Despite laws requiring motorist insurance, many choose to take to the roads everyday without coverage of any kind. Oklahoma tops the charts in the United States; 26% of licensed drivers in the state have no car insurance. That rate is more than 10% above the national average, and means that every accident has a one in four chance of involving an uninsured motorist.
Oklahoma car accidents are expensive
WalletHub is service that provides, “a one-stop destination for all the tools and information consumers and small business owners need to make better financial decisions and save money.” The site ranked states by risk of out of pocket payments incurred during a car accident; according to their analysis, having a car accident in Oklahoma is second only to Florida in terms of expense.
While legislation has been passed that punishes uninsured motorists, Oklahoma has no provision that requires uninsured motorist coverage, an important step in protecting law-abiding citizens from the financial risks of an accident with an uninsured driver. On top of that, the legislation isn’t working.
Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner, John Doak, helped push a law through the Legislature in 2013 that enabled police to confiscate the license tags of uninsured motorists and provide them with temporary insured tags for 10 days. After 10 days, a motorist had to provide proof of insurance to reclaim their tags. The law allows police the option to impound the vehicle or swap the tags.
The current approach isn’t working
While the law helped Louisiana, its performance in Oklahoma has been lackluster so far. News 9 reports, “… so far, evidence suggests, law enforcement is not using it. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol, which said it writes about 25,000 tickets a year for driving uninsured, confiscated just six tags in the program’s first year.”
Capt. Paul Timmons, Oklahoma Highway Patrol spokesman, told News 9, “I think there are some safety concerns, especially if you work in one of the larger metro areas, as opposed to out in the rural areas where there’s a lot less volume of traffic… there’s a degree of officer safety that you have to be concerned with.”
Doak claims the program needs more time. Whether it will be effective in the future remains to be seen, but one thing is clear; uninsured motorists are a huge problem for the state. Uninsured motorist claims cost the United States over $2.6 billion in 2012, and Oklahoma contributed heavily to that number.
While lawmakers figure out how to address the problem, your chance of an accident with an uninsured motorist in Oklahoma is higher than anywhere else in the country. At Stipe Law Firm, we work to protect your rights and your assets. Our experienced Oklahoma uninsured motorist attorneys can evaluate your case and help protect you and your loved ones from devastating medical bills and costly repairs. Contact us today for a free consultation.