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One In Four New Mexicans Is Driving Without Insurance

Apart from Washington, D.C., New Mexico is the state with the highest rate of uninsured drivers on its roads

 One In Four New Mexicans Is Driving Without Insurance

  • 24.9 percent of people in New Mexico were driving without insurance in 2022.
  • The state frequently tops the list of jurisdictions with the highest rate of uninsured drivers.
  • Police in Albuquerque say they deal with this issue about 80 times per week.

A shocking 24.9 percent of all drivers in New Mexico did not have car insurance in 2022, making it the state with the highest rate of uninsured motorists in America. Only Washington, D.C. has more uninsured drivers on the road than the southwestern state.

That’s a big problem for New Mexico, and for insured drivers there. Motorists who obey the law could be on the hook if they’re involved in a crash with an uninsured driver, which could make their premiums go up, even if they’re not at fault.

Read: California DA Sues Progressive, USAA Insurers For ‘Lowballing’ And Screwing Drivers

New Mexico often tops the list of states with the lowest rates of insured drivers, and law enforcement is well aware of the problem. For example, Connor Otero, a deputy with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, which is responsible for policing that state’s biggest city, Albuquerque, told KOAT that his department catches about 80 uninsured drivers a week.

“It’s a huge issue. We run into it constantly after traffic stops or crashes,” said Otero. “What we find out is people don’t have insurance. Or they might not have the proof on them at that point in time.”

Although low insurance rates are a growing problem nationwide, rising from just under 12 percent in 2017 to 14 percent in 2022, the last year for which the Insurance Information Institute (III) has data, the problem is particularly acute in New Mexico, and it’s not quite clear why.

Top 10 States By Percentage Of Uninsured Drivers

The state doesn’t have the strictest laws on the books, but is one of just 14 states that allows a judge to jail a driver (for up to 90 days) for driving without insurance. Legal experts describe it as one of the tougher states when it comes to enforcing this issue.

However, KOAT reports that many drivers are able to have their citations thrown out after booking a court date and proving they have insurance. NM Rep. Bill Rhem, R-Albuquerque, claims that these drivers are simply buying a 30-day policy for their court date, and then canceling it once their ticket is tossed, though it isn’t clear where the evidence for that claim comes from.

The rising rate of uninsured driving might have a simpler explanation, though. Risky driving increased across the country during the pandemic, and traffic stops slowed down, which coincided with higher rates of fatalities on the road as well as more drunk driving, and this may be another way that Covid-19 has impacted driving habits. Meanwhile, Loretta Worters, of the III, argues that higher costs may also have an effect.

“One of the big issues is inflation, right? It’s a big driver throughout the country,” Worters said. “But, you know, same with New Mexico, which has prompted some vehicle owners to just suspend the purchase of mandatory and liability insurance.”

Top 10 States By Percentage Of Insured Drivers

#Mexicans #Driving #Insurance

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