Over the past 12 months the number of uninsured drivers has increased dramatically in Richmond, Virginia and I suspect the same is true for the rest of the state. This presents a real danger for responsible drivers because if one of these uninsured drivers causes an accident, you will be stuck paying the bill. Now, you are probably thinking, my own insurance will pay for the damage and injuries and you are correct; however, in the long run you will pay for this with rate increases and surcharges.
The answer to this problem rests with Virginia legislators and the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). The way is stands now you do not have to have insurance on your vehicle if you agree to pay the DMV $500. The $500 is put towards state revenue and does nothing to protect responsible drivers and in a lot of cases this fee is never paid. When someone’s insurance policy lapses for non-payment the DMV is notified but it usually takes 30 to 60 days. The DMV then sends a letter to the uninsured driver asking to see proof of insurance of his or her insurance and gives the driver 30 extra days to provide proof of insurance. By this point the driver has been driving without insurance for 90 days with absolutely no penalty. In most cases, to avoid paying the $500 fee to DMV the driver will obtain insurance for 1 month and then let their policy expire thus starting the cycle all over! The DMV has not collected a dime and this person gets away with putting responsible drivers in grave financial danger.
We must stop this by petitioning our legislators to impose stiff penalties for driving without insurance. In Maryland for example, if you have tags on a car and it is not insured you will be fined daily for every day the car was uninsured which makes people think twice before buying a pack of cigarettes or paying their insurance bill. Virginia needs to adopt similar regulation to protect responsible drivers.
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