[Updated] Texas City Targets Drivers Without Car Insurance

Guy getting pulled over In the city of Corpus Christi, Texas, Police Chief Troy Riggs has launched a campaign to crack down on the uninsured motorist problem in the city by setting up checkpoints where officers ask for proof of insurance from motorists.

If a driver is found to lack coverage, Riggs’s department will go beyond issuing a standard citation and fine and will be towing uninsured vehicles to an impound yard.

[Update: Jan. 3, 2011] Over the New Year’s weekend, the Traffic Section of the police department conducted two- and two-and-a-half-hour checkpoints at different locations over the city. According to Senior Officer Tony Acevedo, a total of 250 vehicles were stopped, 95 citations were issued and 16 vehicles were impounded after their drivers failed to provide proof of coverage.

Senior Officer Acevedo said that the checkpoints were launched after receiving frequent complaints from residents about the uninsured motorist problem.

More than 4,000 motorists have received citations for driving uninsured within Corpus Christi city limits in the past six months.

“Hopefully the citizens will be encouraged to abide by our state law of having car insurance,” Acevedo said.

Officials across Texas have been rolling out new initiatives to tackle the uninsured motorist problem for the past two years.

In 2009, the state launched it’s TexasSure vehicle insurance verification program, which matches registrations to insurance polices through an electronic database.

Corpus Christi, which is a South Texas city located on the Gulf of Mexico, spans three counties — Kleberg, Nueces and San Patricio.

The latest numbers from the TexasSure database, released earlier this month, show that there are more than 308,000 total registrations for these three counties. Of those 308,000, 25 percent have no matching insurance policy.

The proportion of unmatched registrants for the three counties is actually higher now than when the verification program was initially launched. In November 2009, the three counties had more than 319,267 total registrations with a 23 percent unmatched rate.

According to the latest TexasSure data, the current proportion of unmatched registrations across the state is approximately 23 percent.

Drivers caught without coverage in Texas face a fine costing between $175 and $350 for a first offense. For a second offense, the fine jumps to somewhere between $350 and $1,000 in addition to a license suspsension.

When motorists are convicted of these charges, they are required to pay a $250 annual surcharge for three years in order to maintain a driver’s license.

Auto owners who have their cars impounded have the additional costs of $133 as a base impound fee, plus $21.65 per day for storage.

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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