Florida in top 5 states when it comes to uninsured drivers - WFLA News Channel 8

Florida in top 5 states when it comes to uninsured drivers

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The Insurance Research Council estimates one in every four drivers in Florida is driving without insurance The Insurance Research Council estimates one in every four drivers in Florida is driving without insurance
8 On Your Side's Stacie Schaible talks to attorney David Bulluck 8 On Your Side's Stacie Schaible talks to attorney David Bulluck
Larry Burnham lost his wife to an incident involving an uninsured driver Larry Burnham lost his wife to an incident involving an uninsured driver

It's a staggering statistic.

Florida ranks in the top five in the nation when it comes to the number of uninsured drivers. The Insurance Research Council estimates one in every four drivers in Florida is driving without insurance.

Larry Burnham's wife of 35 years, Sandy, was killed by an uninsured driver in 2012. She was returning on her Harley Davidson from a women's motorcycle gathering in Reno, Nevada.

"She made it as far as Perry, when a car pulled out of a gas station without looking and hit her virtually head on and killed her instantly," said Burnham.

After the accident, Burnham started looking into uninsured drivers in Florida.

"Why wasn't he off the road when he didn't have insurance?" Burnham wondered.

Tampa personal injury attorney David Bulluck says he frequently sees insured drivers hit by uninsured drivers, despite the fact Florida requires people to provide proof of insurance when they register their car.

"For a person to get in a car, they don't have to prove they have all of the legally required insurance coverage they just have to prove they have personal injury protection and property damage," Bulluck explained.

Bulluck believes that loophole is a big part of the problem. Drivers don't have to prove they have bodily injury coverage which is what protects other people if they get hit.

"The law says they have to have it but the problem is no one is checking," said Bulluck.

Add to the equation what the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles admits is an outdated computer system that tracks drivers and their insurance coverage. As it stands, the onus is on insurance companies to report if someone drops their insurance or their policy lapses.

"The only thing they have to prove is at the day they applied for their vehicle registration and license plate they did have coverage that day," Bulluck said. "Now, the next day if they cancel, don't pay their premiums, it's non-renewed whatever, there's really no way to check that until the person gets into an accident."

Larry Burnham knows that all too well.

"The only thing he [the driver who hit Burnham's wife] was charged with was reckless driving and he got a six month suspension of his license with a $1,000 fine," said Burnham. "Virtually no justice for a life taken."

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


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