Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Mandatory Auto Insurance in Wisconsin
92% of Wisconsin Voters Support Mandatory Auto Insurance
A recent statewide poll by the Mellman Group shows that Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly support mandatory auto insurance. Ninety-Two percent of Wisconsin voters surveyed believe that auto insurance should be a mandatory requirement for every driver on our roads.
Mandatory Insurance was the number one issue in the poll taken January 26, 2009. The poll surveyed 500 residents statewide and included an oversampling of respondents in identified legislative “swing districts.” Seventy-three percent of the respondents said that they “strongly support” making auto insurance mandatory for all Wisconsin drivers. That number increased to 75% in the legislative swing districts. The proposal received the same level of strong support from Democrats (92%), Republicans (93%) and Independents (91%).
Liability insurance is mandatory in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Wisconsin and New Hampshire are the only two states in the United States that do not require drivers to carry liability insurance. A recent study by the Insurance Research Council showed that approximately 15% of Wisconsin drivers carry no auto insurance. The Wisconsin Insurance Alliance confirmed this study and added that they expect the number to increase in the upcoming months.
“The insurance industry’s own research shows that 15% of Wisconsin drivers carry no auto insurance and the number is increasing every month,” says Mark Thomsen, President of the Wisconsin Association for Justice. “Too many uninsured drivers on the road mean higher costs for all of us.”Every driver should be responsible and purchase auto insurance,” Thomsen added. “Unfortunately, the numbers tell us that there are a lot of uninsured drivers on the road who cannot cover the cost of an accident.”
The Department of Transportation found that uninsured motorists caused over $35.7 million in damages in 2006. Accidents involving uninsured drivers cost the taxpayers millions of dollars every year in health care costs through Medicaid and government disability programs, costs that would be offset if every driver had auto insurance. Unpaid medical costs are passed to individuals and small businesses in the form of higher rates for health insurance.
Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) released the results of an in-district survey which returned similar numbers to the statewide poll and called upon the state legislature to adopt mandatory auto insurance in the state budget. The Wisconsin Association for Justice supports mandatory auto insurance and agrees with Senator Carpenter that it is a much needed reform.
“Mandatory auto insurance is an idea whose time has come,” Thomsen concluded. “It’s the right thing to do.”