Number of Uninsured Motorists Didn't Actually Go Down By 38 Percent
Front page of the DMN this morning is a story to warm the heart of anyone who owns a car: The number of uninsured drivers in Texas has dropped and dropped hard, from 4.2 million to 2.6 million, all in a single year. That comes after rates have been hovering above 20 percent for years.
The Texas Department of Insurance gives generous credit to its four-year-old TexasSure program, which is aimed at reducing the number of uninsured Texas drivers. But lest you think that 1.6 million people suddenly and simultaneously had a come-to-Jesus moment and realized that a) its illegal and b) that driving without insurance is really an asshole thing to do, there's something else that may have played a teensy role, though TDI spokesman Jerry Higins told the DMN.
TDI's uninsured-driver database seems to have been a bit overzealous, failing to note a change in registration when vehicles were sold and counting them as uninsured. The private contractor tasked with compiling the list, HDI Solutions Inc., discovered the error earlier this year.
Hagins said officials could not determine exactly how much each factor contributed to the decline.
"But the TexasSure program is moving in the direction we hoped for over time," he said. "We have sent out more than 2.2 million notices since the fall of 2009 and are still sending out 25,000 notices a week."
TDI might not be able to parcel it out, but let me help: 99 percent database, 1 percent TexasSure. These are rough figures, mind you, but do they seriously expect us to believe that a 4-year-old program all of a sudden became incredibly effective?
What does this mean, beyond the obvious point that TDI isn't very good at technology? For one, you've probably been paying a bit more for car insurance since the risk of being hit by an uninsured driver has likely been overstated in actuarial calculations. Also, trial lawyers have a less impressive figure to quote on their websites.