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Uninsured motorists can now be identified at crash site

Tennessee has launched a new system designed to bring more motorists into compliance with liability insurance laws. About one in five drivers in the state is considered an uninsured motorist, with an estimated 1.1 million vehicles on the road that are not insured at all. Authorities say that a new verification system could improve compliance with state insurance law and provide additional recourse for those who are injured in an uninsured motorist accident.

The new system is fairly simple. It provides real-time access to online systems that will be used both by county clerks and by police officers. Clerks will be able to determine whether a vehicle is properly insured before its registration is submitted; residents will not be able to register a vehicle that is not covered with liability insurance. Similarly, police officers will be able to verify insurance coverage at the scene of an accident or even during a routine traffic stop. Uninsured motorist vehicles will be towed from the scene, and fines will be issued to those who are not complying with the law.

That towing element is particularly crucial, according to legal advocates, who say that victims throughout the state have been injured or killed because of drivers who were cited for lack of insurance. In one case, a 30-year-old man died because of a crash with a motorist who had been cited for insurance violations just hours before. If that driver's vehicle had been towed from the scene, that accident could have been avoided.

Car accident victims could benefit from this new system, which may increase compliance with liability insurance requirements throughout the state. That is good news for those who have suffered injuries in a car accident, as compensation from an insurance company may be easier to obtain than resources from an underinsured motorist. This system could encourage the courts, victims, at-fault drivers and other parties to work together more efficiently for the benefit of those who have suffered accident injuries.

Source: Times Free Press, "New system will allow police to check in real time if motorists have insurance," Andy Sher, Dec. 26, 2016

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