By Victor O'Brien
Killeen Daily Herald
The organizers of a new program hope to tell uninsured drivers to get off the road.
Texas drivers pay an estimated $1 billion each year in costs because of uninsured drivers, according to the Texas Department of Insurance.
The new TexasSure program aims to weed out those drivers. The TexasSure vehicle insurance verification database
allows state troopers and police departments statewide to access a listing of insured drivers that is updated weekly and then issue a citation based on those results.
Citations can cost up to $350 on first offense, not including court costs and additional fees. Drivers who keep driving without insurance and get caught can suffer a two-year driver's license suspension, a TexasSure news release stated.
Each week more than 200 Texas insurance companies send information about insured drivers to TexasSure, which is made available to officers driving the road.
The Texas Department of Public Safety's state troopers have been using program since June. The program became available to statewide law enforcement during the first week of October. The Killeen and Harker Heights police departments said they would have to investigate the program further before using it.
"It's something we're definitely going to be looking into," said Margaret Young, KPD patrol division commander. "It looks like a good tool."
Lt. Daniel Austin, spokesman for the Copperas Cove Police Department, said the department was participating but was not able to provide specific detail's of the department's participation.
Tom Vinger, spokesman with TXDPS, said some police departments will have to make adjustments to computer software to be able to take advantage of the program.
Vinger said the database does not replace current methods of checking for insurance. Officers still will be encouraged to verify insurance through the insurance company itself before going as far as to impound someone's vehicle.
In Texas, drivers are required to have minimum liability coverage of $25,000 per injured person, up to $50,000 for everyone injured and $25,000 for property damage.
The TexasSure program estimates that 4 million drivers travel without insurance. A TexasSure news release stated that 30 other states have similar programs. TexasSure is a collaborative effort between Texas departments of insurance, public safety, transportation, and information resources.
Contact Victor O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7468