Will the Real "Good Driver" Please Stand Up?

California Ticket Masking Makes It Difficult to Determine Who the Good Drivers Are

California Drivers Pay Less for Car Insurance!

Driving infractions such as red light running, speeding and illegal lane changing can be removed from a drivers record by attending traffic school.  But rewriting a driver's record can increase insurance costs for good drivers across the state.

In 2005, more than 1.2 million traffic citations were dismissed in California -- nearly 307,000 more than in 1995.  While traffic schools can help refresh driver's knowledge of the vehicle code and safety issues, they also hide citations from view.

"Citation dismissal allows for the legal alteration of a driver's record," said Candysse Miller, executive director of the Insurance Information Network of California.  "The difficulty for insurers and others is determining who is and who is not a good driver."

Masking tickets prevents insurers from being able to assess a driver's safety record accurately and price that risk accordingly.  As a result, good drivers ultimately help subsidize those drivers who have had their records modified.

The California Department of Insurance in 2006 directed auto insurers in the state to rely primarily on a driver's record when setting a premium.  While many insurers allow a first citation with no impact, a second citation could result in an increase in insurance premiums.  The increase in premium is due to a driver no longer being a consistently safe risk.

But traffic violator schools are not limited to minor infractions.  Major violations such as driving under the influence, reckless driving and hit-and-run accidents accoounted for nearly 1,200 dismissals in 1998 and 713 in 2004, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

IINC is a non-profit, non-lobbying insurance communications association.  For more information on this and other issues, please visit the IINC Web site at http://www.iinc.org/.

Source: Insurance Information Network of California - iinc.org

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