On Jan. 28 I posted a question asking if any readers had been in accidents with uninsured drivers. I was blown away by the response.
By the next day, my inbox was clogged with over 50 emails about people who have suffered anger, loss, shock and, yes, even triumph after being in accidents with drivers who failed to carry insurance.
According to reports, it’s a growing problem in Oklahoma. The empirical evidence I have in my inbox puts a very real face to it.
One man recounted a string of unfortunate events that culminated in his car being totaled by an uninsured driver. In his nearly 2,000 word email, he told of the struggle and the lessons he’s taken away from the event.
“Without the wreck I would have never stayed at the job with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, I would have moved on to other areas within the energy industry, I would have never gone back to college. So while I am bitter that justice wasn’t served, I am happy that it happened. My future wouldn’t be what it is now without that wreck.”
But most people’s stories didn’t end optimistically.
Dozens of emails told similar stories. Accounts of drivers with no insurance costing insured motorists thousands of dollars in repairs, hospitalization and time off from work.
And sneaky drivers with no insurance who, after the wreck, pass off expired verifications or illegally flee the scene. One reader told of a woman who fled with her child. The police didn’t chase her because of the infant she had in tow.
Another story I found heartbreaking summed up the woman’s thoughts on what needs to be done to fix the problem:
“My husband broke nine ribs, lacerated his spleen, and punctured his lung. He’s lucky to be alive. Sadly, my husband had no medical insurance and his bills are out of this world. Due to this wreck, he is still unable to return to work. I wish the guidelines and penalties were stricter.”
One similarity shared by all of the stories was the theme of injustice — Law abiders who now bear the burden of the law breaker.
I promise to cover your stories and this terrible trend that is costing Oklahomans dearly. Thank you for all of your stories.