Okla. panel OKs bill punishing uninsured drivers

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A bill meant to discourage motorists from driving without insurance has advanced in the Oklahoma Legislature.

A House panel approved legislation Tuesday that says such drivers would not be able to collect any monetary damages after auto accidents, even if the accident is someone else's fault.

Republican Rep. Jason Nelson says the measure is meant to decrease drivers without insurance. The committee approved it 10-6, with every Democratic member voting no.

Nelson said his proposal is meant to penalize people who break state law by not getting auto insurance. A 2011 report says about 24 percent of Oklahoma's drivers are uninsured.

Democrats Rep. Scott Inman and Emily Virgin took issue with Nelson's logic. Virgin and others questioned whether it was allowed under the state's constitution, which guarantees a remedy for any injury.

Nelson said he didn't know that answer.

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