NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 30, 2006

Appearances of what seems to be more civil and less aggressive driving in Arlington, Texas, are at best anecdotal, as it is difficult to statistically document such a miracle, says the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  And analyzing cause and effect is also tricky.  But there's also this: Arlington recently adopted a towing policy for uninsured drivers.

It's not really zero tolerance; police merely ticket the driver and don't tow the car if the uninsured driver has no other offense (such as driving under the influence) and hasn't been ticketed recently for not having insurance or has no outstanding warrants.

If the police did call a wrecker for every uninsured driver, that would be a lot of towing. Arlington police wrote 38,592 citations for uninsured motorists last year alone.

Police say compliance is growing:

  • They're now finding fewer uninsured motorists, perhaps because through August of this year, more than 4,200 vehicles of uninsured drivers were towed in Arlington.
  • They wouldn't have been towed without other violations, so it could be argued that the least responsible drivers are being systematically taken off the street.
  • To reclaim a vehicle towed for lack of insurance, a driver has to prove that liability insurance has been purchased, plus pay a $412 fine for no insurance, a $135 tow fee and a $20-a-day storage fee.

Perhaps uninsured drivers are now well aware of both the possible fine and towing and are being careful to avoid attracting the attention of police by speeding or running red lights.  They might even use turn signals, says the Star-Telegram.

If what seems to be occurring in Arlington is being noticed in other North Texas cities with similar or even tougher policies -- Bedford, Euless, Haltom City, Irving and North Richland Hills are examples -- then the idea of economics-based civility and responsibility in driving might just catch on, says the Star-Telegram.

Source: Editorial, "Car courtesy," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, October 30, 2006.


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