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HomeNewsArchivesLieutenant Governor Leads Crackdown on Uninsured Drivers

Lieutenant Governor Leads Crackdown on Uninsured Drivers

June 8, 2009 — In an effort to clamp down on drivers of uninsured vehicles, Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis is joining forces with other departments and agencies to bring those drivers into compliance.
"The cost of not having insurance is passed on to the public in many ways," he said. "All of us benefit when the financial liability to uninsured motorists and injured persons is reduced."
His spokesman, Shawna Richards-Llanos, spoke about the costs to the territory's hospitals for treating people injured in accidents when the vehicles involved are not insured.
"And the other driver cannot get their repairs covered," she said.
Although it's against the law to drive without motor-vehicle insurance, some drivers buy insurance so they'll have an insurance card to show when they get their vehicles inspected, but cancel it soon after, Francis said.
Richards-Llanos said she did not have figures on how many drivers do not carry insurance on their vehicles.
Information is already shared between the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the insurance industry, but Francis said it does not flow quickly enough to identify uninsured vehicles. To address this problem, the partnership is exploring real-time methods of data sharing to track auto-insurance coverage and cancellations.
Francis is partnering with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, V.I. Police Department, the Office of Highway Safety and the Insurance Advisory Committee to identify those drivers and get them off the road until they get insurance.
As an example, Richards-Llanos said that when police officers pull over a driver, they will be able to find out immediately whether the vehicle is insured.
"And the police department will issue citations," Richards-Llanos said.
The auto-insurance initiative is also expected to lead to the implementation of an insurance point system. Currently both good and bad drivers are treated equally when it comes to getting insurance, Richards-Llanos said. With a point system in place, however, good drivers could be rewarded for their driving habits by lower insurance costs.
And she said that with a point system, drivers who accumulate a specified number of points could lose their driver's licenses.
A point system is already part of the V.I. Code, but Richards-Llanos does not know when it will be implemented.
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