Compiled by MCJ Staff
State Rep. Annette Polly Williams has asked Gov. Jim Doyle to call a special session of the state legislature regarding Wisconsin’s new mandatory auto insurance law.
While she and her constituents believe all drivers should have auto insurance, Williams stressed that with Milwaukee’s high unemployment and the financial hardships faced by many families, “the damages attached to this law and the potential of losing one’s vehicle are of great concern,” Williams said in her letter to Doyle.
In essence, the new law requires state drivers who are stopped for any traffic violation by law enforcement, to have 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.
Williams feels the new law will disproportionately impact low-income residents and the unemployed if they can’t drive to work or job interviews if they don’t have auto insurance.
There is also a fear of increased fines for minor traffic stops and violations, additional costs associated with towing, impoundment and storage fees, as well as increased altercations with law enforcement during traffic stops.
Unemployed workers would also be hindered for many of the same reasons as the employed.
“Although I believe mandatory auto insurance is a necessity in our state, the unforeseen consequences this law is having on the low-income and unemployed needs to be reassessed,” said. Williams.