Seventy-Eight Deaths, $35.8 Million in Damages Caused by Uninsured Drivers

The state legislature should require that all drivers in Wisconsin be required to carry automobile insurance, according to Mark Thomsen, President of the Wisconsin Association for Justice.

 “We fully support the Governor’s consumer driven reforms in the state budget but this may be the time for the legislature to enact mandatory automobile insurance for all drivers,” Thomsen said.

A bill to require mandatory automobile insurance was introduced in the legislature last session, but did not advance. Wisconsin remains one of only two states that do not require drivers to carry automobile insurance. Liability insurance is mandatory in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Only New Hampshire and Wisconsin do not have compulsory auto insurance liability laws.

Instead, Wisconsin has in place a financial responsibility law. It is designed to make sure that any motorist licensed to drive in Wisconsin has insurance or enough money to pay for damages to others that may be caused by a motor vehicle.

In 2006, nearly 8,000 uninsured drivers in Wisconsin were involved in accidents that caused $35.8 million in unpaid damages. Seventy-Eight people were killed in Wisconsin accidents involving uninsured drivers. Uninsured drivers who fail to pay the damages caused by their accidents receive a one year suspension of their driver’s license.

“You are required to have liability insurance if your car is financed by the bank or if you have had certain traffic violations,” Thomsen added. “Everyone should have insurance before they are allowed to drive in Wisconsin.”

A recent study by the Insurance Research Council claims that approximately 15% of Wisconsin motorists are uninsured. The Wisconsin Insurance Alliance says that they believe that number will rise in the upcoming months.

“Even the insurance industry recognizes that the number of uninsured drivers is increasing,“ Thomsen added. “Mandatory auto insurance is an idea whose time has come because it’s the right thing to do.”


Mark Thomsen is the President of the Wisconsin Association for Justice. The Wisconsin Association for Justice stands with consumers to promote a fair and effective justice system for every citizen, not just the privileged and wealthy.  



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