Some people really tick me off.
A couple of Saturdays ago, I was having a pretty good day. My wife, Cecelia, and I were out for a drive in the country after eating an early dinner.
We had just driven across the railroad tracks, and were waiting to make a right turn onto KY 26 when BAM!
We got rear-ended by a guy in an old dark blue pick-up truck. He claimed he had just gotten the truck, and his brakes had gone out.
In what has become a regular occurrence for my wife and I, the guy told us that he didn’t have insurance. He asked me not to call the police multiple times because they would impound his truck. He wanted to “work it out” and said it could just be buffed out. (The estimated repair is $1,495 by the way.)
“How do I know you will do what you say you are going to do?” I asked multiple times. I didn’t get a good answer to that question.
While I was calling police, he pulled his truck into the parking lot of a store across the road. After talking to a 911 operator to see if it was alright to move my vehicle, I also drove into that parking lot with the guy in the pick-up truck pulling up beside my driver’s side door as close as he could without hitting me again. (I presume he was trying to keep me from getting out of the vehicle.)
He told me that he was going home, and lived on such and such road. (Doubtful he was telling the truth about his address.) I get out of my SUV as he is driving off to grab a picture of his license plate only to discover that he had covered up the license plate number with what was probably an old disposable blue mask.
I was livid!
There was a passerby, who was almost as mad as I was. It turned out about an hour earlier he had stopped to help the guy in the old truck when he broke down in the road.
To the credit of police, the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department had a pretty fast response time to our accident scene and missed seeing the hit and run driver by maybe three minutes. At last check, the deputy was going to see if the store had any security camera footage that maybe caught the guy’s license plate number before he covered it up, but I doubt he had any luck. (I appreciate him checking though.)
This was the third time that either my wife or myself have been involved in an accident with someone, who had no insurance. The first time my wife got hit by someone with no insurance in the parking lot of a gas station in Williamsburg. Our insurance had to pay for the repairs.
The second time we were hit is when an expensive SUV struck a Cadillac behind us with no insurance and the Cadillac then struck the back of our vehicle. In that case at least, the expensive SUV’s insurance covered our repairs.
I will concede that things have gotten a better than they were 25 years or so ago when my dad got hit, and the other driver didn’t even get a ticket for having no insurance.
If you get caught driving without insurance now, the police do impound your vehicle. If you are in an accident and don’t have insurance, our judges are now requiring you to pay restitution to the victim for the damages as part of your court sentence. If you are caught driving without insurance a second time, then you do pay a $500 fine.
Insurance companies are now filing lawsuits seeking to recover damages or at least check into doing so. The insurance company at least looked into pursuing a lawsuit against the woman, who hit my wife in Williamsburg a few years back, but determined it wouldn’t be able to recover any money.
The reality is that I will probably be writing this column again 10 years from now after my wife or myself is hit by yet another person driving their car or truck without insurance.
If you are caught driving without insurance for the first time, you typically are only going to pay less than $200 between the fine and court costs combined, and have to get insurance for two years, which you were supposed to already have.
This simply isn’t enough of a penalty to dissuade many people from driving without insurance, which causes vehicle insurance costs to go up for the rest of us.