How Unlicensed Valley Drivers are Costing You
Law enforcement says unlicensed drivers in our valley are a big problem.
And the price of those drivers can be your safety... or your pocketbook.
No driver's license doesn't stop some people from getting behind the wheel.
California Highway Patrol says about three vehicles a day are impounded in Riverside County because the driver is unclicensed.
"It doesn't matter if the person is the registered owner or not the registered owner, if they are unlicensed we are going to impound the vehicle, and we can actually by law even forfeit it," said Officer Joseph Zagorski.
The valleywide D-U-I checkpoints often catch many unlicensed drivers.
"If you have 300 or 400 cars that come through, and you get 20 or 30 unlicensed drivers as a percentage, yes its a huge percentage that we may see," said Officer Zagorski.
It may surprise some people to learn that at the California Department of motor vehicles, you do not have to have a drivers license in order to get a vehicle registered.
Highway Patrol officers say most unlicensed drivers are also uninsured.
Most insurance companies require proof of license.
"Our policy is only to offer auto insurance on cars with licensed drivers that can present a licensed driver," said Steve Padgham, Agency Prinicipal at Nationwide Insurance in Palm Desert.
So what are unlicensed drivers costing us? Law enforcement says safety.
"Number one they are probably uninsured, and these people either don't understand the rules of the road or they demonstrated a disregard for the rules of the road by driving unsafely or in a way that's kind of recklessly, and so it puts anyone at risk who's driving the road with them," said Officer Zagorski.
Padgham said, "There seems to be a direct statistical relationship between accident frequency and severity with unlicensed drivers, versus those people who play by the rules."
Insurance companies say because one out of four California drivers have no insurance, it is costing you if a collision happens with an uninsured driver..
Padgham explained, "Then your uninsured and your underinsured motorists coverage pays for the damage to fix your car or your bodily injury to you or your passengers, that's all reflected in much higher premiums for those folks who are playing by the rules."