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Editorial: Insured drivers still wait for justice

L’Observateur / January 21, 1998

Ask anyone who pays through the nose for auto insurance. And, accordingto some polls, only about half of us do.

It’s amazing how something which seems to be so obvious and sonecessary cannot be approved in Louisiana without a legal battle. TheLouisiana Legislature in its 1997 session made it state law that anyonecaught driving a motor vehicle without the minimum liability insurancecould, with few exceptions, have their car impounded.

Louisiana pays some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country,and rightly so, when a huge number of drivers refuse to buy or cannotafford to buy insurance. The answer seemed to be painfully obvious -impound uninsured vehicles. With more insured motorists on the road,prices would come down and more people could afford the insurance,driving the prices down even more.

Since the Legislature’s move, some companies have already cut theirrates. It seemed to be working – an idea from Baton Rouge which madesense, made our highways safer and made a huge improvement in ourstate’s image.

What happened? You guessed it. Somebody filed suit. This is, after all,Louisiana.

Now, the Louisiana State Police have to place adhesive green stickers tovehicles in violation of the law. Should the owner fail within three days tobuy the needed insurance, the car could then be impounded – if they catchhim.

Fortunately, the injuction signed last week in Baton Rouge does not affectlocal law enforcement agencies and it is hoped they will help pick up theslack. However, until this is settled, insured motorists will continue topick up the slack on insurance costs in Louisiana.

It is a dirty, rotten shame, but in Louisiana, it’s no surprise.

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