Oklahomans who obey the law by purchasing auto insurance should cheer Insurance Commissioner John Doak’s support for an effort to punish those who don’t.
Doak, a Republican, is backing legislation by Rep. Mike Christian and Sen. David Holt, both Oklahoma City Republicans, that could cost drivers their license plates if they don’t have liability insurance. Drivers would be given a temporary sticker for their vehicle and be fined each day until insurance is bought and verified. The bills also would increase fines for driving while uninsured and create administrative fees for uninsured drivers. Revenue from the fees would go to law enforcement and to pay for the state temporary insurance plan.
Doak’s agency estimates there are about 560,000 uninsured drivers in Oklahoma. They cost the state nearly $9 million in unpaid insurance premium taxes each year, but “those millions of dollars are just the beginning,” he said.
We’re among those who’ve criticized Doak for hiring practices and for spending $170,000 to outfit his anti-fraud unit with shotguns, body armor and police-style vehicles. He’s on target, though, in trying to reduce the number of uninsured drivers in Oklahoma. This is a long-standing problem, one that’s understandably frustrating for the many who do follow the law.