The state of Minnesota might be on to something, as the region appears to have fewer and fewer uninsured drivers.
State court records have revealed that the number of drivers charged with not carrying auto insurance in Minnesota has dropped by a third in the past five years. Similarly, St. Louis County in Minnesota has reported that “no-insurance” cases have dropped by 28% since 2013.
Some believe that the state’s decrease in uninsured drivers can be largely attributed to a law introduced three years ago, which required drivers to show proof of insurance as they register or renew the registration of their vehicles.
Other experts think the drop in uninsured numbers has more to do with the state of the economy.
“When the economy is good, we see more people buying insurance — it is a direct factor in how many people buy insurance,” Insurance Federation of Minnesota vice-president of public affairs Mark Kulda told Duluth News Tribune.
Kulda added that when jobs are scarce, there will be more people who cannot afford coverage, and thus will have to “choose between insurance and food.” He prefaced that it is these types of drivers that make up the bulk of uninsured motorists.
The agency representative also noted that although the vehicle registration rule appears to be helping more people get covered, it does not guarantee a lasting impact.
“Some scofflaws buy it long enough to put information down, then get rid of it,” Kulda remarked.
There are also other ways for drivers to circumnavigate the insurance requirement; Minnesota’s Division of Motor Services does not make an effort to verify the insurance information on registration forms, a Department of Public Safety spokesman claimed.
In 2015, Minnesota’s uninsured driver rate increased to 11.5% after years of decline. In that same year, over 20,000 people were charged with driving without insurance. It was only after the new law was passed that the stats began to drop.