In nearly all states in the U.S., motorists must carry at least minimum automobile insurance. Minimum liability covers the expenses of property damage and bodily injury caused by a motorist.
While this is a law, not all motorists abide by it, and Oklahoma ranks as one of the highest states for uninsured motorists.
Many Oklahoma motorists drive without insurance
An article in the Journal Record estimates that as many as 60,000 Oklahoma motorists drive without the required auto insurance. The state ranks among the highest in the nation without insurance. Lawmakers tried to address the problem in 2016 through a program that sought to identify uninsured motorists with cameras that scanned license plates. Officials can fine an uninsured motorist $174 for a first-time offense.
Uninsured motorists affect all drivers in the state. The high rate of uninsured drivers costs the state about $9 million a year in lost revenue. It also contributes to higher premiums for those who do buy insurance. Drivers could also face expensive repair costs as well as medical expenses. The average cost of auto insurance in Oklahoma came in at $1531 in 2018, about 12% percent above the national average.
More motorists buying insurance
Tulsa World reports that state measures are starting to have an effect on the number of uninsured motorists in Oklahoma. Just a few months after the state’s Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Diversion program became operational, about 1400 drivers received notices of violations. The notices resulted in 946 people paying the $174 dollar fine and purchasing the mandatory auto insurance.
For the program, law enforcement works in cooperation with insurance companies to identify drivers without coverage. The goal of the program is to reduce the number of uninsured motorists in the state. This should lead to cheaper uninsured driver coverage as well as more money to fund some state pensions.