Bill Proposes To Punish Oklahoma Uninsured Drivers

The days of uninsured drivers in Oklahoma may now be numbered as a bill seeking to punish and prevent them from receiving monetary damages from vehicular accidents is near its passage in the state’s House of Representatives.
The bill known as SB691 was authored by Senator Cliff Aldridge and co-authored in the House by Rep. Jason Nelson. It was able to pass the House Committee on Insurance on April 2 but with strong opposition from Democrat representatives, and is now endorsed to the full House for its consideration. The bill will prevent an uninsured driver or a person who have not complied with Oklahoma’s Compulsory Insurance Law, from receiving any damages resulting from an accident.
Nelson said that their proposal intends to penalize drivers who violate the insurance law and to bring down their numbers. According to the latest data from the Insurance Research Council, twenty-four percent of Oklahoma drivers are not insured. Though uninsured, these drivers have still benefited from insurance claims. Nelson believes that drivers who did not comply with the law and have not participated in the insurance system should not benefit from it.
However, the said bill still offers exemptions from some uninsured drivers. Uninsured motorists who have been hit by a hit and run driver or an intoxicated driver at the time of the accident could still receive monetary damages.
Opposing to the said proposal, Rep. Corey Williams raises the question if the bill’s author have any evidence that the said measure will really lower the number of uninsured motorists, or if it has a precedent from other states. Though Nelson was not able to answer Williams’ question, another study from the Insurance Research council revealed that states who have instituted said measure have lowered the number of their uninsured drivers to two percent.
Also voting no to Nelson’s proposal, Rep. Emily Virgin said that there is already a penalty for people who drive without Oklahoma auto insurance. “That’s called a ticket,” Virgin said.