Lower Insurance Costs in California

Two crashed cars close up - Copyright:  Deyan Georgiev

Uninsured Vehicles in California

About three million vehicles on California’s roadways are uninsured or inadequately insured. These uninsured drivers typically have the most unreliable and unsafe cars. It is likely that they are also the least careful drivers. Studies have shown that the more uninsured drivers there are on the road, the more fatal car crashes.

Uninsured drivers are a problem. They cost other drivers billions of dollars each year. If only 30 percent of all uninsured California drivers purchased insurance, California drivers could save $250 million in costs

Two Steps to Large Insurance Savings

A new law in 2013 provided access to licenses for 1.4 million non-citizen individuals in California. Unlicensed immigrants previously lacked insurance because they could not buy coverage when they did not have a valid license.

January 1, 2015, a new law will go into effect. It will help more low-income drivers to purchase affordable automobile insurance. The new law expands and enhances California’s current Low-Cost Automobile Insurance Program (CLCA).

It is believed that a substantial number of the 1.4 million non-citizens will benefit from the new law. The change can potentially also reduce insurance rates for everyone.

Senate Bill 1273

Among others, the Senate Bill (1273) was supported by Personal Insurance Federation of California, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, and United Farmworkers of America.


 

Three Feet, Please!

Photo by Dave Haygarth

Three Feet for Safety Act Goes into Effect in California

Starting September 16, 2014, California joins the 25 other states that already require motorists to keep a minimum distance when passing a bicyclist.

The new California Act states that you must keep at least three feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator. If traffic or roadway conditions make it impossible to keep the three-feet distance, you must slow to a speed that is reasonable and prudent. You may pass only when doing so do not endanger the safety of the bicyclist.

A violation of this Act may cost you $35. If you violate the law and cause bodily injury to a bicyclist, you will be fined $220.

Other States with Passing Laws

The following states have enacted three-feet passing laws: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. So has the District of Columbia.

Pennsylvania has a four-feet passing law.

Several other states have general laws which states that motorists must pass bicyclists at a safe distance and speed, without specifying the distance.

Always Be Patient

On a two lane road, you should always avoid being next to the bicyclist at the same time as oncoming traffic is at the same location. Keep well back and wait until it is safe to pass.

If you are too close and the bicyclist must brake or move away from the right side of a lane, you could run them over.

Read More

Read more about the new law: V C Section 21760 and California Driver Handbook

Lower Car Insurance Premiums

Florida Highway

International Trend

Right now, there is an international trend in lower car insurance premiums. In Great Britain premiums have fallen sharply. Even most states in U.S. see lower costs.

The reason? Safer cars and lower costs for insurance companies.

Averages in U.S.

National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) uses a five-year running average of annual premium costs. This year’s data shows that premiums have declined in most states. Some states, as much as 2 to 4 percent. Drivers with good records and modestly priced cars can benefit even more from this trend. Oklahoma is the only state where the average increased by more than 1 percent.

Premiums vary greatly between states. An annual car insurance policy in Washington, D.C., as an example, is twice as expensive as the average premium in Iowa. A car owner in Florida pays 27 percent more than the average U.S. vehicle owner.

Read more: bankrate.com


 

Back to School

School bus loading children

Stop for a Stopped School Bus

All states have laws requiring a driver to stop for a stopped school bus with flashing red lights. Unfortunately, the laws differ slightly from state to state.

The typical state law requires you to stop when meeting or overtaking a school bus from either direction. You must stop before reaching the bus and you must remain stopped until such school bus resumes motion or the flashing red lights are no longer activated. Remember, red lights are turned on whenever a school bus is stopped on the highway for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children. Even if you cannot see any children, you must remain stopped.

When are you Allowed to Pass?

You may be allowed to proceed with care when meeting a school bus which is on a different roadway. The definition of a different roadway varies. You may also be allowed to proceed on highways with limited access when the bus has stopped in a loading zone where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway.

Study the Rules in Your State

Make sure you know the laws in your state and any state you plan to visit. Penalties for passing a stopped school bus are often severe. Watch for the flashing lights and stop arms on school buses. Always obey crossing guard instructions, as well as speed restrictions. Focus on traffic and be aware of your surroundings. Do not use your cell phone in a school zone. It may distract you and may be against the law.


 

Summer Heat

Heatstroke: Get Involved

Know the Facts

In ten minutes a car can heat up 20 degrees. What if you keep a window open? Unfortunately, rolling down a window does very little to keep your vehicle cool.

Higher Risk

A child is at a much higher risk than an adult of dying from heatstroke in a hot vehicle – especially when the child is too young to communicate.

Always Remember

Never leave a child alone in a parked car, even with the windows rolled down, or air conditioning on.

More Safety Tips for Parents: Safercar.gov