More than 1 in 5 Texas driverslack the auto insurance required by state law. The Texas Department of Insurance recently reported that 21.6% of all drivers statewide were driving without insurance. Bexar County registered a mark of 22.9% of drivers without insurance, trailing only Dallas County (24.1%) for the lead in the most populated counties in the state. South Texas had the highest percentage of uninsured drivers, with Cameron County leading the state with 30.4%. This equates to about 4.2 million drivers statewide who are driving without car insurance.
This report is particularly discouraging in light of the recent efforts by State officials to increase the number of insured drivers. The state started TexasSure in 2008, designed to notify drivers that they lacked insurance and publicize the need for insurance. The program was initially effective, reducing the number of uninsured from 24.3% in 2008 to 21.6% in 2010. But it appears that the numbers of stagnated.
Some in the insurance industry have cited the down economy for the lack of insured drivers. This argument may be specious because of the extended economic downturn in the country since 2008. Another factor could be the continued increase in insurance premiums across the board for Texans. Possibly this biggest factor is that Texas does not fine uninsured drivers until they are pulled over for another traffic violation; other states primitively issue citations to uninsured drivers based on comparisons of registered car and the insurance rolls.
It is against the law to drive without auto insurance in Texas. Violators are subject to a $350 fine for a first offense and up to a $1000 fine and suspension of a drivers license for a second violation.
Texas drivers can protect themselves from the wave of uninsured drivers by caring Uninsured Motorist protection on their own policy. For a small increase in premiums, drivers can be insured if they suffer injury or property loss at the hands of an uninsured motorist.