On the evening of Feb. 19, I experienced a traumatic car accident. I say traumatic because I think all car accidents are, and more so when it is a hit and run, which is what happened to me. I was driving south on 23rd Street when I was struck by a vehicle that was turning left onto La Vista Avenue.
I was able to determine that the vehicle that hit me was an older model, white-on-red heavy Ford F150. I was not able to secure the license plate number as things happened quickly. It probably had little damage done to it.
The driver of the Ford stopped briefly, then quickly left the scene of the accident. He or she did not have the integrity to own up to his or her responsibility. He or she did not even care if I was injured or not. I can only assume that the driver either did not have a valid driver’s license, no insurance, or either of these.
Fortunately, I did not suffer a major injury. I reported the accident to the police, who took my statement about the accident.
The next morning my husband took the vehicle to our insurance company, where photos were taken for an estimate. Because of the nature of the accident, the insurance company labeled it as an “uninsured motorist.” Our insurance company made a suggestion as to where to bring my car for repair.
The repair to my Honda CRV took longer than expected as more damage was found upon closer inspection. Ultimately, the repair came close to $7,000. We were able to get an insurance-covered rental car while my car was in the shop. It was almost a month before we got my car back.
While our insurance covered most of the cost of repair and the cost of the rental, we now look at the possibility that our rates might go up. This all because one individual did not accept his or her responsibility.
If you read the newspaper or hear the news on TV, you will hear of many hit-and-run accidents in the Valley. Texas has an estimated 20% uninsured motorists, one of the highest rates in the nation.
The Valley has a large percentage of these motorists. Worst of all, Texas ranks in the top 10 for hit-and-run accidents. Many hit-and-runs have left people either seriously injured or dead. How heartless and inhumane.
Texas law requires that a motor vehicle operating on the roads and streets of Texas be insured. “Proof” of insurance is the tag for the renewal of the license plate on the windshield. To get that tag, many drivers will purchase insurance, sometimes for a little as one month. They will get the renewal tag for their vehicle, then either cancel or not renew that policy.
We need stronger laws in Texas regarding vehicle insurance. I think it would be in the best interest of many that, while insurance must be obtained, the law should prevent the issuance of one-month policies. A minimum of six months, if not a year, should be required.
Individuals wishing to cancel their insurance after a short period of time should be required to show proof that they no longer are in possession of the vehicle.
Sadly, from what I have heard, some insurance companies are against this concept. They are OK with the one-month policies. Could it be the higher cost of a one-month policy? Could it be that the insurance company that sells these policies knows that if an accident occurs after the policy expires, the company will not be financially responsible for any damages or injuries?
It is time to change the laws. What is to stop our legislators from working on making our lives better and more secure?
Rosalinda Torline, McAllen