Since 1977, drivers in Tennessee have been legally required to have proof of liability insurance. According to the legislation, drivers had to be insured for specified minimum levels of liability, varying from $15,000 for property damage to $50,000 in the case of multiple deaths or injuries. Unfortunately, the fine a driver can face for driving without insurance is currently only $100. The relatively small fine has led to a situation in which 23 percent of the Tennessee driver population carries no liability insurance. Lawmakers hope that proposed changes to legislation will decrease car accident involvement by uninsured drivers.
Legislators are waiting for the state’s governor to sign the James Lee Atwood Jr. bill into law. The bill carries the name of a victim of a car wreck killed by an uninsured driver in 2014. The uninsured driver was pulled over by traffic authorities during July of last year and received a citation for driving without insurance, but the officers could not keep him from driving. Seven hours later he crashed into James Lee Atwood Jr., killing him. He still did not have insurance.
The stricter penalties enforced by the bill will not only include an escalation in the fine levied for driving without insurance, but they will also allow for an insurance verification program to be launched. The program would be aimed at tracking uninsured drivers using their vehicle registrations. There is little doubt that the changes in legislation will benefit law-abiding citizens.
The introduction of the new legislation will hopefully lead to a decrease in uninsured drivers. Seriously injured victims and the families of fatally injured victims of a car accident in Tennessee will no longer have to fear that the other driver was uninsured and worry about the impact on their claims should they choose to file personal injury or wrongful claims. Instead, with the help of an attorney, they will now be able to focus on obtaining a fair settlement.
Source: wmcactionnews5.com, “Tougher penalties against TN uninsured drivers set to start July“, Andy Wise, April 24, 2015