There are several insurance related bills before the 2013 Texas Legislative session covering a broad spectrum of issues. There are also a few that aren’t really related to insurance but I’ve included them either because I’ve blogged on them last year or they are related to our overall safety and privacy.
Some are designed to make our lives easier and some are designed to protect us. Several will pass and there’s one that should but probably won’t. The issues being addressed by our elected officials include:
- Virtual proof of insurance
- Licensing roofers
- Smart meters
- Reckless driving
- Drunk driving
- Texting while driving
Virtual proof of insurance: Senator Glen Hegar of Katy has proposed that Texans be allowed to show proof of their insurance with an app on their smart phone. There are already seven states that allow this:
Besides Texas, there are another 22 states considering adding this capability. Some people have expressed privacy concerns, however, no law officer can review other items on the phone besides the screen showing proof of insurance without a search warrant. I think this is an easy one to pass and will help people who forget to pull the renewal ID card out of their packet and place it into their car.
Roofer licensing: After every hail storm, roofers from all across the region and other states rush here to help Texas home owners replace damaged roofs. Most are reputable, but there are some that aren’t. The disreputable ones do shoddy work, don’t guarantee their work or can’t be found if something needs to be redone. The worst offenders simply take the deposit money and run, leaving individuals in a position of forgoing repairs or paying for them out of their own pocket.
Senator John Carona of Dallas is sponsoring one of the measures. Couple that with roofers, TDI and the insurance companies all support of this leads me to believe this has a good chance of passing.
Smart Meters: Representative David Simpson of Longview introduced a bill giving individuals the ability to refuse installation of a smart meter on their home. A heated discussion ensued with several of our lawmakers participating and it quickly moved off topic. This one won’t get off the ground.
Texting while driving: Representative Tom Craddick of Midland introduced a bill that would ban texting, emailing, instant messaging and any other type of electronic messaging while driving. I support this effort and believe it will save lives. Many police officers can tell who is texting while driving. As much as I would like to see this pass, Governor Perry vetoed a past effort and I don’t see anything indicating he’s changed his mind.
Drunk driving: Representative William Callegari of Katy introduced a bill requiring people arrested for driving while intoxicated and having a blood alcohol level of 0.15 to have ignition devices installed in their vehicles. These devices require the driver to pass a breath test to start their car. It’s failed two previous times before and the details are very muddled:
- Who pays for the device?
- How will the program be administered?
I’m highly in favor of this bill but do not believe it will pass without clearer details and a groundswell of support from probation officers.
Reckless driving: Representative Jason Isaac of Dripping Springs is advocating a bill that favors higher penalties for a person that causes serious injury or death to a driver or passenger in another vehicle. The current penalty is a paltry $200. If Isaac’s bill passes, the penalty will be increased to $2,000. Surely, even that’s not enough and will it have any impact on people that suddenly rage when driving? I don’t think it will. It may pass, but I’m very doubtful of any long term impact on reducing road rage levels.
What do you think? Which of these bills will pass and which ones will go down in flames? Or is there a different bill that you would introduce? In any case, post it on our Facebook page or in the comments section of our blog. I’d love to hear from you!