Special to the Reporter

Approximately 20 percent of vehicles on Texas’ roads and highways are uninsured, despite state laws requiring every driver to carry at least liability coverage.

Although the majority of Texas motorists have insurance, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) released a statement that 4 out of 5 vehicle owners will end up with extra expenses if they are involved in an accident.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) and the DPS joined together to unveil TexasSure, the state’s new program to identify vehicles without liability insurance.

“Many different stakeholders helped to develop the technology system needed to make this work,” said Texas Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin. “I commend DPS, TxDOT, DIR and those in the insurance industry for putting together this one-of-a-kind solution. Any tool that helps us reduce the number of uninsured vehicles is good news.”

No action is required on the part of drivers who have car insurance. Auto insurance companies are required to submit policy information on a weekly basis. However, state laws still require drivers to carry proof of insurance.

DPS will conduct a field test in the Austin area before making TexasSure available statewide later this year. The goal is to reduce the number of uninsured drivers on Texas roads. Last year, the DPS reported 154,000 citations for non-insured drivers.

“For too long, having a collision in Texas has been like playing a game of Russian roulette, where you never know whether the at-fault driver is carrying the required insurance,” said DPS Highway Patrol Lieutenant Sanchez. “Because of TexasSure, we believe drivers now will be far more likely to get and keep a liability policy when they realize we have a way to identity phony proof-of-insurance cards and catch those who cancel their policy as soon as they get their cars registered or inspected.”

Proof of insurance is required for annual vehicle inspections and registration. Texas law requires minimum liability coverage of $25,000 per injured person, up to a total of $50,000 for everyone injured in an accident and $25,000 for property damage.

Driving without liability insurance can result in a fine of $350 in addition to court costs and fees. Repeat offenders may have their driver’s license suspended for two years.