Is council about to put some teeth in auto insurance requirements?

The Dallas city council recently approved a measure to tow and impound cars involved in automobile accidents if the drivers cannot produce proof of insurance:

The Dallas Police Auto Pound is where cars involved in accidents will end up, if their drivers don't have insurance.

A unanimous city council approved the new policy but not all were enthusiastic.

Some fear the flood of cars will overwhelm the crowded impound lot.

And some say it will unevenly hurt minorities and the poor because the cost of getting towed climbs fast.

The towing, storage and impound fee is $136. Then $20 a day storage fee every day after.

After 48 hours, there's a $50 notification fee to let the owner know, if he doesn't collect his car, it will be sold at auction.

Add that to the price of buying new insurance, just after an accident.

Some say, they should tow even for simple traffic violations.

"That's when it needs to be confiscated. If they do not have insurance, that's the law. The law is they have to have insurance," said council member Mitchell Rasansky.

This policy doesn't do that. But most say, it does make the point.

Yesterday, KTRH-740's Chris Baker reported that talk is circulating downtown that Houston city council may soon consider such a measure.

There is no denying that Houston has a problem with uninsured motorists involved in accidents, and that such irresponsible drivers end up sticking it to the rest of us in the form of higher insurance premiums.

So, is a measure like the one enacted by Dallas likely to have the desired effect? Is it too predatory? Is it not predatory enough (i.e. should the vehicle be towed for simple traffic violations, as one Dallas councilmember seemed to support)? Please discuss.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 02/10/06 09:27 AM | Print |

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