Editorial: Could the cost of insurance drive more awareness?

It probably came as little surprise to local motorists to learn Glendale and Burbank are in the No. 1 and No. 6 spots, respectively, on a report published this week ranking cities throughout California based on the amount paid for auto insurance premiums. After all, the large volume of traffic accidents in our area — all too many of which involve vehicles vs. pedestrians — has been the subject of frequent news reports and opinion pieces.

What may have surprised some is the fact that the study, released by ValuePenguin, a consumer finance website, also showed that our area has a high rate of uninsured or underinsured motorists and the highest claims amounts involve drivers who fall into those categories. So, the rest of us are paying a price indeed for living among people who are either not insured at all, or who take out too little insurance. This is a dispiriting reality that suggests lawmakers should look at imposing even more severe penalties for those caught driving without coverage.

But that aside, we propose there might be an advantage to the news that motorists in our cities are clearly being punished for showing an appalling lack of responsible driving behaviors. We’d like to think that now that all the law-abiding drivers know with certainty they’re paying an awfully high premium — more than in most every other California city — because of their neighbors’ poor driving habits, some degree of peer pressure will kick in and the situation will improve.

How can Glendale and Burbank, both known for being such safe places to live when one considers the crime statistics, also be among the most dangerous places to live if you happen to be a pedestrian or bicyclist? How much evidence has to be placed before our eyes, how much pain must we endure, before we stand together and insist on our cities becoming safe havens in all respects?

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