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Stiffer penalties proposed for uninsured drivers

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Undated_Uninsured drivers are a big problem in Oklahoma, but Insurance Commissioner John Doak and a few lawmakers are trying to change that.

Right now, the fine for driving without insurance is around $230, and officials can choose to impound your car, if they see fit.

The plan that is being proposed would make it a lot more expensive and create a bigger hassle for choosing to take that risk.

The proposed law mirrors one in Louisiana. They had over 30 percent of people driving uninsured when it took effect, and now it's below 15 percent.

Todd Jones spent over $1,000 to fix his bumper after a wreck with an uninsured driver. But he says it was less costly to do to do that, than pay the fees for court.

"After you get all that and add it up, I think it came up to like $2,500. It adds up and it keeps adding up, so you have to keep doing it a little bit, piece by piece."

Insurance agent Sharon Dismuke says putting your car back together is only half the headache.

"The more money that your insurance company spits out, then the higher your rate is," said Dismuke.

That's one more reason lawmakers want to see a change, which could come under House Bill 1792.

An officer would be allowed to take away an uninsured driver's license tag and replace it with a temporary one. The driver will also get a hefty ticket and temporary insurance.
He then has 10 days to take out his own policy. The driver will take that proof to the county sheriff and pay the fine, a $125 administrative fee, and the temporary insurance cost, all before getting the original tag back.

Jones says he thinks they deserve to pay up.

"If you can't afford insurance than don't have a car, " he said.

If all drivers were insured, Commissioner Doak says the state would make around $9 million more in taxes each year. He says that would mean more money for firefighter and police pensions and for the general state fund.

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