I don’t drive, but I understand how cars work. By which I mean I know you press a lever, turn a wheel, and then try to avoid hitting cars and pedestrians as you go. I also know how insurance works. It’s a must-have, something that everyone needs and everyone-except for a lawbreaking few-have. Or at least, that’s what I thought.
It turns out that’s not quite true. There are many more uninsured drivers than you might think. And that applies both in the UK and in the US.
Uninsured Drivers in the UK and US
Here in the UK it has been estimated that as many as 1 in 10 cars on the road are not insured. If you live in East London then that figure climbs even higher. It’s also high for many other parts of London and for major cities like Liverpool and Manchester. The further away from the big cities you go, the less of a problem this is. But when you consider the risks involved, and the fact that each and every one of those drivers is breaking the law, it’s still a staggeringly high figure.
This problem is not resigned to the UK either. There are millions of uninsured motorists in the US, but unlike the UK, it’s not a problem that only exists in big cities.
In the state of Oklahoma, it has been estimated that an average of 1 in 4 drivers are not insured, a figure that puts even London to shame. But if you travel to Massachusetts, then the figure is a less terrifying 1 in 25. Across the whole of the country, there are 1 in 8 uninsured motorists, which is about in line with the worst offending region in the UK.
It’s not all bad though, because these figures used to be higher. They can still be considered high. But at 12.6% the total number of uninsured drivers in 2017 is less than the 15% in 2000 and the 16% in 1980. While Oklahoma is the worst state, Florida, New Mexico, Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi are all above 20%; New York, Maine, Utah, and North Dakota are all less than 7%.
To make you feel a little better: 60% of drivers in India are said to be uninsured. It makes those Oklahoma drivers look like saints by comparison.