Knowing Who Bad Drivers Are Keeps Insurance Costs Lower

Knowing Who Bad Drivers Are Keeps Insurance Costs Lower

Safe drivers in Wisconsin will not have to subsidize the cost of insurance for drivers cited for moving violations, as state legislators adjourned earlier this week without enacting on a proposal that would have had that effect.

The proposed legislation, Assembly Bill 737, would have permitted most persons convicted of violating a traffic regulation to attend a driver improvement course. It would have prohibited courts from providing conviction records to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation of individuals who successfully completed the course, according to Mark Johnston, state affairs director for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies.

“While having traffic violators take safe driving courses is a good thing, keeping the record of drivers who have been convicted of violations out of the state database is not,” Johnston said. “These records are used by insurance companies to accurately assess risk and determine the cost of automobile insurance. If that data is not available to insurers, the likely alternative is that insurance costs for everyone goes up because no one would know where the risks should be appropriately allocated. That means good drivers would be subsidizing the cost of insurance for bad drivers. And that is not fair to good drivers.”

Johnston said that drivers whose traffic violations are dismissed by courts following completion of traffic school are more likely to be in another crash within a year than drivers whose convictions remain on their driving records. He observed that traffic school dismissals mask high-risk drivers who then are allowed to sidestep penalties, including license suspensions and revocations, that normally would be deterrents.

“Studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety report that in states where violations were removed from public record after completion of traffic school, crash rates for drivers with two or more violations are about twice as high as the rate for drivers without any moving violations,” he said.

NAMIC is the largest property/casualty insurance trade association in the country, serving regional and local mutual insurance companies on main streets across America as well as many of the country’s largest national insurers. NAMIC’s 1,400 member companies serve more than 135 million auto, home, and business policyholders, and write more than $196 billion in annual premiums.


Lisa Floreancig
Public Affairs Director, State & Policy Affairs