The City Council on Monday gave police officers the power to tow vehicles of uninsured drivers involved in accidents. Drivers who can't prove they have insurance could also be towed.

It's an attempt, council members said, to crack down on a problem in a state where about 20 percent of motorists are uninsured. Council member Greg Tierney, who spearheaded the policy addition, said it's a way for the city to help enforce a state law that is often ignored and leaves insured drivers in a financial pickle.

State officials shelved until next year plans to manage the insurance data of 15 million drivers. Officials have scrapped nearly a dozen bids from information service companies hoping to administer a planned auto insurance verification program. New bids are expected this month.

Texas drivers pay a $1 fee when they renew their licenses to pay for the program. The program aims to catch uninsured drivers by enabling law enforcement, vehicle inspection stations and others to instantly verify whether a motorist has at least the minimum coverage required under state law.

Several other North Texas cities, including Arlington, Carrollton, Dallas, DeSoto, Farmers Branch, Haltom City, Irving, Mesquite and Plano, have already implemented programs similar to Lewisville's.

Officers will have discretion when to have a driver's car towed and will only be allowed to do so in the case of an accident, not a traffic stop.

Lewisville council member Rudy Durham, who cast the sole dissenting vote Monday, said he doesn't think the policy addresses the problem. To him, it's just an example of the government getting too involved. Plus, he doesn't think it's going to persuade more people to get insurance.

"All it's going to do now is the police officers are going to have to take the time to wait for folks to have their cars towed away and impounded," he said.

He also said many times people have insurance but for one reason or another they just don't have proof. Likewise, he said many times people have counterfeit insurance cards.

But Mr. Tierney wouldn't mind being even tougher. He said he'd like to see uninsured drivers pulled over for traffic violations face the same fate, not just a citation. Irving has a similar policy, and Plano and Arlington police tow uninsured cars during some traffic stops.

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