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Driving while uninsured in California may become a thing of the past if the Insurance Commissioner has his way. He is trying to place an intiative on the November 2008 ballot to get uninsured motorists off the road. It may work by revoking license plates on cars or allowing police officers greater power in dealing with the uninsured.

Advocates of the low-cost program and the possible initiative contend that it’s unfair that law-abiding motorists end up paying higher premiums because of damage done by uninsured drivers. Opponents counter that the measure would disproportionately affect poor people and make it even harder for them to get and keep jobs.

Even the relatively modest cost of the state’s low-cost auto policies could prove too much for a poor family of three living on $723 a month in welfare payments, said Mike Herald of the Western Center on Law and Poverty, a Los Angeles-based legal services group that deals with health, welfare and housing issues.

Insurance is mandatory in California and the police are only able to issue a ticket to drivers. It is estimated that 3.2 to 5.7 million motorists are uninsured in the state.

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