New York Assembly Bill Moves to Halt Auto Insurance Scams

defensive drivingWhile we all think that having quality defensive driving skills is enough to ensure safety on the road, there are times when we can’t control others’ actions behind the wheel. This is particularly true when a person intentionally causes an accident to be able to file an auto insurance claim.

New York State has taken note of an increase in fraud cases that involve intentional accidents and, as a result, is taking a stand against these staged auto insurance scams. In an effort to halt the practice, state lawmakers have passed a bill that makes staged auto accidents a standalone crime.

Lawmakers Push to Stop Staged Auto Insurance Scams

On March 22, 2003, Alice Ross, 71, was tragically killed when an auto insurance scam artist forced her car off the road and into a tree. The crook was hoping to gain insurance payments from causing the accident. It is staged auto insurance scams like this that have encouraged the state of New York to take action.

On May 9, the New York senate unanimously passed Alice’s Bill, named after Ross, which is meant to stop the typical scam that involves crashing into someone and pretending to have a hurt neck to score some extra cash from an auto insurance company.

The bill still has to pass the New York state assembly, however. If it does, it will place tough penalties on anyone who cheats the system, including drivers, medical professionals who write excessive medical bills and attorneys who find loopholes in the law that favor scammers.

Alice’s Bill will also modify the “30-day rule” to give insurance companies more time to investigate claims, among other measures.

Defensive Driving Tips to Keep You Safe on the Road

It’s not easy to avoid an accident when another driver intends to collide with you. But it doesn’t hurt to keep defensive driving techniques in mind to keep you safe whenever possible.

  • Drive with high eyes: Rather than solely watch the vehicle in front of you, focus on the road horizon. This ensures you take action based on all the cars around you on the road, instead of just one driver who may or may not be paying attention.
  • Spot fast lane changers: Regularly monitor your rear and side view mirrors to spot individuals who change lanes rapidly around you. If you notice this behavior, give them plenty of space so that they can get ahead of you.
  • Look both ways at intersections: When you have been given a green light at an intersection, don’t assume you can head straight through since some drivers like to bolt through yellows that are in the process of turning red. So before driving through an intersection, be sure to look both ways.
  • Know when and how to swerve: If you find yourself in a situation where a vehicle or object is suddenly in front of you and you don’t have time to stop to avoid a collision, you may need to swerve. To do so safely, be sure to swerve into an empty lane as gradually and safely as possible. A way to practice this maneuver is in an empty parking lot with cones.

By internalizing the above and other defensive driving methods, you can have a safer experience on the road, which is not only great for you, but other drivers you encounter along your journey.

(Image courtesy of artur84 /