Fort Worth Zoological Association 91fricaq, ‘Safari 22 DAYS DEPARTING JULY 20, 1971 An exciting photo expedition to the game reserves of East and South Africa. $1990.00 All-Inclusive For complete information and brochure contact: Dallas Travel, Inc. 211 N. Ervay, Dallas 75201 1.. For no-fault Austin As long as we do nothing about the collapse of the public transportation system, the right to drive a car will be elementary in America. Only the public’s police power, used to protect everyone from dangerous drivers, should be able to take away a citizen’s right to drive. If a citizen can’t drive, he or she can’t get to work can’t get around town or out of it freely is stranded. The auto insurance companies, in league with house-broken state insurance commissioners and politicians raising money for their re-election kitties, would like to see the right to drive depend on the companies’ making high profits out of the drivers. The companies want to insure just the people they figure are low accident risks, so they have been raising the rates on, or cancelling the insurance of, or refusing to insure, everybody whose driving records, or personal lives, or color, or income, or place of abode, indicates to the whirring computers that they are not good risks. Every now and then the companies’ hacks, sinkers or dupes in the legislatures propose to make private-profit auto insurance mandatory for everybody. That would be very neat, indeed, for the profit-makers, since they would then be able to run everybody off the road who wouldn’t pay the rates they want. All this the insurance companies do righteously, in the cause of public safety. They have forgotten that the social justification for their existence is insurance, not public safety. Public safety is the justification for the existence of traffic cops. The State Insurance Board does, indeed, “act as merely another insurance trade association,” as the Texas State Interim Committee on Automobile Insurance rates has just charged. The five members of this committee are Senators Oscar Mauzy, chairman; Ronald Bridges, Corpus Christi; Tom Creighton, Mineral Wells; Jack Hightower, Vernon; and David Ratliff, Stamford. The Texas Insurance Board proved its flatulent subservience to the insurance industry when it jacked up auto insurance rates again late last year. As Sen. Charles Wilson of Trinity has said in his written analysis of this rate increase, the board came to taw and agreed to permit the companies’ profits from their investments to be figured into their profits for rate-making purposes. This should have reduced the going rates. But the commissioners bedded down with the industry again by simultaneously changing the basis for deciding the rates, giving the companies a higher rate of profit than they have Observations ever had before. This special interest Board of Insurance has no credit with the public and deserves none. There are now 83 million cars in the country. Four out of every five American families who own cars buy auto insurance. This costs them about $17 billion a year, which is just slightly less than what they pay for new cars. Auto insurance provides only about $1 in payments to drivers for actual economic losses for every $6 it costs. In New York, for instance, only about 15 cents out of every insurance dollar goes to pay for the actual net economic loss of victims of accidents, that is, their actual out-of-pocket costs. The rest goes to the insurance companies or their in duplicate payments for the same In Texas, 23% of the drivers are not carrying auto insurance. This has happened before. The insurance industry’s house-pet State Insurance Board sets rates so high, people drop the insurance in droves, even though they want the protection. The companies then generate pressure to require everybody to buy their insurance, at their rates, or get off the road. Just let the Legislature try it. That law would get hit with a lawsuit for unconstitutionality immediately. THE FUNDAMENTAL reform that we need is “no-fault” insurance. This is now the law in Massachusetts. Under the no-fault principle, the state requires the insurance companies to insure everybody and to pay the actual losses of everybody involved in an accident, no matter whose fault it was. The insurance companies are shoved off the judges’ benches and put back down on their proper level as providers of protection. Under the Massachusetts law, if a person in an accident was driving while drunk, drugged, evading officers or committing a felony, he can’t collect anything. The Massachusetts legislature was so sure the new system would cut the cost of auto insurance, it reduced rates 15% even before the new law went into , effect. Now the governor says it’s working so well, rates will be cut another 25% next year. The reason “no-fault” insurance isn’t getting anywhere in the Texas Legislature is simple. The plaintiff lawyers are against it. The Mauzy committee opposes it, warning of the federalization of insurance. There are too many lawyers in the Texas Legislature. It is too easy for lawyers to justify the present system as a protection of the rights of damaged people to sue when actually it’s their own way of making a living as lawyers that they’re protecting. Sen. Philip Hart of Michigan is sponsoring a federal law to provide no-fault insurance. This leads into the federal control of auto insurance, and that is what we need. The longer the state legislatures and the state boards of insurance run the errands of the insurance companies, the sooner we’ll get federal control of auto insurance. With 83 million cars criss-crossing state lines, the sooner the better. Meanwhile, the Texas Legislature is moving to make it easier for people in car accidents to win lawsuits for damages. At present if you’re negligent, say, 5%, you can’t collect anything. The State Senate has passed a bill to make May 7, 1971 15
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.