The Mississippi House is yet again moving ahead with a proposal to establish online computer checks to make certain that motorists are covered by car insurance.
Last year, former Governor Haley Barbour vetoed a similar measure. Insurance Research Council data from 2009 shows that Mississippi is the state with the highest portion of uninsured drivers in the country, having reached 28 percent. In fact, that is twice as high as the Council’s national average for uninsured drivers.
This latest measure was sponsored by Gary Chism (R-Columbus), the House Insurance Committee Chairman. It makes a call for the Department of Public Safety to outsource to a company that will be contracted to perform this service.
The premise behind the online verification is to attempt to stop drivers from purchasing insurance in order to obtain the proof of coverage card, only to end the policy immediately afterward.
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Chism explained that “People buy the insurance, let it lapse after a month, and they still have the card for five more months.”
This new bill would fine a driver $300 for being caught uninsured behind the wheel. The second offense would see a fine of $400, and a third offense would fine the driver $500. The current fine is typically $500, but that can be reduced by $100 should that individual purchase insurance coverage before their assigned court date.
According to Chism, it is necessary for the fines to be high, or people will find it cheaper to pay for a fine than to purchase insurance and pay the premiums.
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