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'Driving dirty', a habit that costs all Texas drivers too much

The thing about most laws is that they rely on their punitive aspects to prevent wrongdoing. The hope is that the fear of punishment will be so great that it motivates us all to do the right thing and not commit the crime.

As a quick scan of any daily newspaper's headlines will surely reflect, however, it isn't a full-proof method. People are arrested, tried and convicted of various offenses every day. It's been going on that way for millennia. Some infractions are worse than some others. Sometimes the punishment fits the crime. Sometimes it doesn't.

Driving without vehicle insurance is one of those laws that many people take for granted. Liability coverage is mandatory in Texas and nearly every other state of the union. And it's easy to see why. Car, Truck and motorcycle accidents that leave individuals injured or dead carry significant costs. The losses suffered aren't just economic. They are social and emotional as well.

And yet, a recent study by the Insurance Information Institute estimates that more than 12 percent of drivers took to the road without coverage in 2012. In Texas, the Department of Insurance has the TexasSure website dedicated to the issue and it puts the number of vehicles on the road without insurance at 20 percent.

That means that the chances are that in a 5-vehicle pileup, one of the drivers will have no insurance. To make up for that exposure, the state estimates law-abiding Texans are paying about $1 billion every year for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

If you are one of those drivers who carries protection against uninsured motorists, do you know the full measure of your rights if you get into an accident? To be sure you understand all your options, and recognizing that insurers are bound to try to limit what they pay for compensation and recovery, you should be contacting an experienced attorney.

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