N.B. drivers abandoing cars because of high insurance

National Union of Public and General Employees
     October 9/2003

Saint John: High insurance rates are prompting some New Brunswick drivers to park their cars in public lots or back roads and simply walk away. 

Most of the abandoned vehicles have no major mechanical problems, but their owners cannot afford to get them safety checked and pay the exorbitant insurance rates private insurers are charging.

One Saint John tow truck operator has picked up 160 abandoned cars since July but there is no process in place for disposing of such vehicles. He wants the municipality to start dealing with the problem.

Some of the cars belong to young people who are charged even higher rates than other age groups. Another problem is that private insurers don’t like to insure older vehicles.

Major election issue

The Bernard Lord Tory government nearly fell last spring when soaring car insurance rates became the main election issue.

Lord plummeted from a huge majority to a single-seat margin in the legislature. He has since set up a special committee to examine the possibility of moving from a private to public auto insurance system.

The same issue played havoc with the John Hamm Conservatives in Nova Scotia, who were cut from a majority to a minority government in August. And the issue is again a hot topic in Ontario, where the ruling Conservatives lag in the polls heading into a province-wide vote on Oct. 2.

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