Car insurance law will impact our community the hardest…and that’s not good news
If you’re Black, own a car and have no insurance and you haven’t been keeping up with what’s going on with the legislature in Madison, our state’s capitol, chances are you probably missed the news.
“What news?” you ask. The news that as of this past Tuesday, June 1, it is now illegal to drive a motor vehicle in this state if it’s not insured.
If you’re stopped for any traffic violation by law enforcement officers, they will not only ask for your driver’s license and vehicle registration, they will also ask to see proof of insurance in the form of a card that is provided by insurers.
Failure to have car insurance and proof of insurance on your person will result in a fine—on top of whatever penalty you have to pay for the unrelated violation you were stopped for.
While advocates of the new law say it makes perfect economic sense, opponents of the measure—especially in the Black community—feel the law will impact disproportionately low-income residents who can’t afford even the minimum auto insurance.
Opponents of the law say the uninsured (most of whom will undoubtedly be Black and other minorities) will more than likely lose their jobs because, as a result of the law, they will lose their drivers license because they can’t pay the fines.
Is this fair? No it’s not given the economic conditions many of our people find themselves in. Even though they might be working, many Black Wisconsinites don’t make enough to afford auto insurance and take care of their families and other needs like food and shelter. As a result, many can barely make the monthly car payments.
Though we empathize with members of our community who can’t afford car insurance and feel the law is unfair, we implore them to make every effort in their power to get insurance for their auto.
For those who wont’ make the effort because of their economic condition we suggest—at the risk of sounding as if we’re encouraging the breaking of the law (which we are NOT)—those individuals drive within the law and not speed; repair those items on their vehicles that might draw the attention of law enforcement, and make sure their license plate tags are current.
And when these individuals who are without car insurance are finally able to afford it, they should immediately obtain insurance so that by the law’s first anniversary, all of our people will be within the law.