Noble McIntyre on March 3, 2015
Oklahoma has a dubious distinction: It is the number one state with respect to the number of uninsured drivers on the road. 25 percent of motorists, or one in four, is uninsured and driving illegally. Insurance Commissioner John Doak helped push a bill through the Legislature in 2013 that created the Temporary Motorist Liability Program.
The Temporary Motorist Liability Program is a law that sets up a mechanism by which an officer can allow an uninsured driver a temporary insurance tag that insures the car for ten days, which gives the driver the opportunity to purchase insurance within that time. Here’s how it works: When a motorist is caught without insurance (generally, this is discovered following a traffic violation or crash), the law provides the responding officer with two options. He can go ahead and impound the uninsured driver’s car. Or, he could choose to remove the car’s tag and replace it with a temporary tag that grants immediate insurance that is good for ten days. During that ten-day period, the driver must purchase insurance.
According to a recent news story, Commissioner Doak pushed for this law, in part, because it has been shown effective in Louisiana for getting uninsured motorists off the roads. However, Oklahoma seems to be having trouble with the law’s enforcement. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol spokesperson Capt. Paul Timmons admitted that in the program’s first year, out of 25,000 tickets written for uninsured driving, only six tags were confiscated. Timmons says that one of the reasons why enforcement has been slow is because there’s safety risk to the officer in moving between his patrol car and the violator’s car.
Still, the Cleveland County Sherriff’s spokesperson, Rhett Burnett, questioned the logic of the program. His feeling is that if a driver is breaking the law by driving an uninsured vehicle in the first place, a ten-day grace period in which he can purchase insurance is unlikely to suddenly turn the person into a law-abiding driver. Commissioner Doak says, though, that he is committed to making the law work. He said that the department is working to eliminate obstacles to enforcement and will make it simpler for officers to enforce the uninsured driver laws and use the temporary tag program.
If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident that involves either an uninsured or insured driver, we can help. It’s our mission to help all victims of Oklahoma car accidents with the best possible legal representation so that you can get the compensation you need and deserve. We know that one moment can change your entire life, so we want to make sure that we’re always available to help make it right to the best of our capabilities. If you need an Oklahoma car accident lawyer, call us today at 1 (877) 917-5250 for a free consultation.