A proposal to penalize drivers without car insurance even if they do not cause a wreck collides with skeptics at the capitol. The proposal says that an uninsured motorist who is hurt in a crash with a driver who HAS insurance cannot sue the insured motorist for noneconomic damages—such things as pain and suffering, loss of employment and loss of a physical relationship with another person

Viburnum insurance agent Lance Mayfield also runs a state licensing office, favors the proposal. “There is a fair number of people out there whose sole purpose is to take advantage of the system,” he tells a committee. He thinks insurance premiums could be driven down 15-30% if more people “put into the system” But critics of the proposal say the main beneficiaries of the bill would be insurance companies who would not be liable for payment of noneconomic damages to someone who is hurt by an insured motorist. Some Senators reviewing the bill say the state would be better off investing in a computer system that catches people who drop their insurance and takes away their licenses. They say that would do more to force drivers to get and keep insurance than the proposal that limits personal rights to recover from someone who hurts them.

A senate committee is thinking over the idea.

.Hear excerpts from committee hearng 31:29 mp3