Stillman and Friedland applaud the state law which penalizes those who fail to drive with proper insurance. The law’s stricter penalty which entails impounding the cars of non-compliant owners is coming into effect very shortly—on January 1st, 2016. This is very important legislation which seeks to protect responsible drivers and get irresponsible drivers to carry insurance or get off the roads.
In 2014, Tennessee was sixth in the nation for uninsured drivers involved in bodily injury cases. Tennessee statistics argue that many uninsured drivers are irresponsible drivers. While uninsured motorist claims represent 17.2% of all claims, 20.1% of bodily injury claims occur in uninsured motorist cases. Obviously, more serious bodily injury points to more reckless driving. Uninsured drivers are responsible for about 40,000 auto accidents per year in Tennessee.
These statistics point to the need for more severe repercussions for those who disobey the law; the new law imposes two major penalties. The fee for failure to insure has been tripled to $300, and the police can impound the vehicle.
Tennessee lawmakers crafted this law in response to the tragic death of James Lee Atwood Jr. in a collision with an uninsured motorist. The negligent driver was arrested for vehicular homicide following the accident. Atwood’s irresponsible killer had been stopped earlier on the day of the accident and could not provide proof of insurance. The provisions of the new law would have taken the driver off the road immediately and prevented the fatal crash.
We continue to advise drivers to carry high-limit uninsured motorist insurance, as we did in a previous post.
In conclusion, the ideal situation is for all Tennessee motorists to have at least $300,000 plus uninsured motorist coverage on their own car policy. It is not expensive, and it is very valuable if ever needed.
Carrying higher limits covers you in the case of severe injury in which you yourself run out of coverage and the at-fault defendant has zero coverage or very low policy limits. While the law will push many drivers towards compliance, there will always be those who are willing to risk the penalty. Stay smart and get the most uninsured motorist coverage you can.