What does Wisconsin have in common with New Hampshire? (Besides snowy winters.)
These are the only two states that don't require drivers to have motor vehicle insurance.
Not necessarily for long, if State Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, has his way. Lehman is circulating a bill, looking for cosponsors, that would require every driver in Wisconsin to have a valid motor vehicle insurance policy before taking to the road.
“Operating a motor vehicle is a privilege, not a right," Lehman said. "Wisconsin places a number of requirements on drivers like passing written and on-the-road skills tests. It’s common sense to also require drivers to be financially responsible for any injury or damage they might cause in an accident.”
Under Lehman’s bill, drivers would be required to have a liability policy or bond covering them for at least $25,000 for one person and $50,000 for one or more person’s injuries and at least $10,000 in property damage. The new financial responsibility requirement could also be met by having a deposit of $60,000 in cash or securities with the state Department of Transportation.
According to a recent study by the Insurance Research Council, Lehman said, if someone is injured in an automobile accident there is a one in seven chance that the at-fault driver is uninsured: “A person who is injured or suffers property damage as a result of an auto accident should not be doubly punished by the financial irresponsibility of another driver.”
While drivers could not be pulled over specifically to determine compliance with the law, a minimal fine could be imposed for failing to have proof of insurance in the vehicle. Larger penalties of up to $500 would be levied on drivers who fail to maintain the minimum level of coverage.
“Our state laws should help to make our roadways safe and secure and protect responsible citizens. This bill will help advance that cause by requiring every driver on the road to take financial responsibility for any damage or injury they may cause,” he concluded.
Frankly, it makes perfect sense to us. (Maybe because we also lived in New Hampshire for many years.) But then we remember, Wisconsin is one of the few states that doesn't even require motorcyclists to wear a helmet ...