has to pay 70c;more for his auto insur”What I’m saying is that the level of law enforcement is not equal. The Dallas police wrote more traffic tickets last year than did the police in Houston, Fort Worth, and San Antonio combined,” Mauzy says. “We want local law enforcement, not a state police force, but these problems of local enforcement must be worked out.” Referring to the argument sometimes advanced that increased judgments in courts are costing the companies more, Mauzy, a lawyer, says that only half of 1% of auto insurance claims are ever presented to a jury. Other questions that Mauzy raises include: what accounting procedures does the S.B.I. employ in its operations? Should not the state rate formula take into account the fact that some comcommissions? Is the system of setting up 26 different rate territories in the state fair? Compulsory insurance has been suggested as a step in assuring that traffic loss be mitigated. Mauzy has some doubts about the wisdom of this. Three states \(Massachusetts, New York, and North says; one has discontinued the program and in the two other states rates have “gone sky-high.” But Keeton and O’Connell favor some compulsory insurance. In their book they comment about the Massachusetts situation that a recent public hearing on rates was, in contrast to an earlier hearing, a subdued proceeding, which “indicated that the rates were high enough for the companies to live with and about right to keep the public sullen but not mutinous.” KEETON AND O’Connell propose a new form of auto insurance, as a correction of the present system which, they contend, “provides too little [compensation], too late [because of overloaded courts], unfairly allocated, at wasteful cost [high legal fees, for instance], and through means that promote dishonesty [to improve one’s case] and disrespect for the law.” Keeton, while in Austin, said that he believes some sort of readjustment of the nation’s auto insurance set-up must be made if the federal government is to be kept out of the field. Keeton believes the system is unjust, for one thing, in that only $1 of every $3 of insurance funds paid out by companies reaches injured victims. Keeton and O’Connell call their proposed plan basic protection insurance. It would be compulsory for all motor vehicles operated regularly in a state. The plan would compensate all persons injured in auto accidents without regard to fault, reimbursing for all types of out-ofpocket personal injury losses up to $10,000 per person. The coverage would be marketed through the same channels of private enterprise now used for auto liability insurance, and claims would be processed through the same institutions and procedures as at present. Property damage would be excluded from the plan; property damage claims would continue to be handled under present laws and insurance coverage. The 1967 legislature is not, of course, likely to enact such a plan. But it is likely to be deeply embroiled in the kind of insurance controversies here discussed controversies that so far have been to complex for short newspaper stories and for most of the legislators, as well. G. 0. WM OM 21121P011tili The Railroads’ Decline 70 I had -to go from Houston to Dallas on business one day. I wanted to take the train, but the schedule was inconvenient for the northward bound trip so I flew up. On the return trip, however, I was able to ride the train. It was to be a sentimental journey; I had not taken one for many years. Dinner was delayed until the train’s diner was ready to serve. I was remembering with -fondness the tastiness of diner meals, served with verve. As the train moved out of Dallas I was altogether satisfied, even sensually so, despite the first warnings that all was not just right. It had been a long time since I had ridden a train, but it did seem that it was rougher than I recalled. Soon dinner was announced, not by a porter, but by the lone dining car waiter. Going to the diner I had to take care not to lose my balance, as the train’s yawing had increased. The food was served, but withlittle of the old flair, nor was it as tasty. The train had begun swaying violently, and eating and drinking became sporting events of much suspense. Would I be able to put food into my mouth without jabbing myself with the fork? Could I put cup rim to my lips without spilling coffee on myself or slinging it about the car? The whole performance called for speed, agility and a superior sense of timing. Obviously the railroad was not spend ing all it could on maintaining its road bed. Another true experience involved a young Houston couple who took the Chihuahua al Pdcifico train from Ojinaga to Mexico’s west coast and back for their vacation. Some friends going with them had already driven to West Texas to meet them in Alpine and drive them to Presidio. The couple decided to ride Southern Pacific’s Sunset Limited to Alpine. Since “hardly anyone rides the trains anymore,” the man felt little need ‘to be concerned about getting tickets, but he did decide to get the tickets after work on the day they were leaving rather than waiting until they were ready to board the train. Nonchalantly he walked up to the ticket counter, only to be told that there were no tickets available on the train that night; indeed, it was necessary to make reservations five days ahead of planned departure to get a seat. This produced no little anxiety in the man, as he and wife were looking forward to the trip and were supposed to meet their friends the next morning in Alpine, and already had reservations on the Chihuahua al Pacifico. The lady at the ticket counter was sympathetic, and so was the conductor who was to take over the train when it got to Houston, but the best they could suggest was that he wait at the station until the Sunset Limited pulled out of Beaumont, when they would receive word of any possible vacancies. But the report from Beaumont was negative, leaving the couple one recourse, to drive to Alpine. It was one o’clock when the inconvenienced couple arrived in San Antonio, too sleepy to continue driving. They decided in desperation to stop at the SP station there and see if they could get on the Sunset Limited. The ticket agent offered to sell him tickets on the automat car. As she was preparing the tickets, in came the conductor, just arrived, complaining of being delayed by people who had driven out of Houston to Rosenberg and Schulenberg hoping to get on the trains in those towns. Our hero consciously kept his face turned from the conductor. Tickets in hand, he dashed out to his car, he and his wife quickly unloaded it, dashed to the train, and two vacant seats turned up in the last car! Thus they were able to ride to Alpine in some comfort. So the question recurs, are the railroads less than enterprising in getting passengers, or have they been very enterprising in losing their patronage? This would seem a useful field of inquiry for the next legislature, not for sentimental reasons, but for the practical advantages of moving some travelers off the highways onto the rails. Richard E. Hickman, 816 Ave. B, South Houston, Tex. 77597. December 30, 1966 5
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.