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AMERICANS SAY IMPROVED SAFETY IS BEST WAY TO LOWER AUTO INSURANCE COSTS

 OAK BROOK, Ill., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Keeping unsafe drivers off the road, not cost-shifting, is the preferred solution to lowering auto insurance rates, a national survey indicates.
 According to the survey, conducted annually by Roper Starch Worldwide for the Insurance Research Council, the number of people feeling pinched by auto insurance rates is holding steady. Fifty-eight percent of licensed drivers say paying for auto insurance is a problem, 25 percent say it is not much of a problem, and 16 percent say it is no problem at all. Results have been about the same the past three years.
 But Americans don't want low-income persons and large-city residents to receive an insurance subsidy. That's true whether the government handles the subsidy, by raising taxes, or insurers do, by lowering rates for some and charging others more.
 RESPONDENTS REJECT PROPOSALS TO MAKE AUTO
 INSURANCE MORE AFFORDABLE BY USING SUBSIDIES
 75 Percent 74 Percent 65 Percent
 Reduce premiums Use tax money Use tax money
 for low income to pay part of to pay part of
 people and charge the premium for the premium for
 others more urban vehicle owners low income people
 Percent Saying "Somewhat/Very Bad Idea"
 Three out of four oppose requiring insurers to subsidize the rates low-income drivers pay by raising rates on others. People who say paying for auto insurance is a major problem oppose the idea by 3-to-1, 72 percent to 23 percent. Even people making less than $15,000 are against the idea, 65 percent to 25 percent.
 Equally unpopular is using taxes to subsidize the rates of big-city residents, whose premiums are highest; 74 percent are opposed. People in big cities oppose the idea as well, 73 percent to 21 percent.
 Using taxes to subsidize low-income drivers is opposed 65 percent to 29 percent. People making under $15,000 oppose the idea, 54 percent to 37 percent.
 "In general, people like to pay their own way," said Donald Segraves, executive director of the Insurance Research Council. "Cost- shifting has never been popular."
 Americans would rather keep rates down by getting potentially dangerous drivers off the road and making sure everyone else buckles up.
 PUBLIC HAS HIGH LEVEL OF ACCEPTANCE FOR ACTIONS
 TO REDUCE AUTO ACCIDENTS
 Percent
 -- Strictly enforce age restrictions on the purchase of alcohol 90
 -- Require the use of seat belts 78
 -- Confiscate the car for repeat DUI offenders 78
 -- Require annual retesting for drivers 70 or older 75
 -- Enforce penalties for not wearing belt 68
 -- Grant provisional licenses to drivers under 21 66
 -- Install breathalizer in car after DUI conviction 63
 Percent Saying "Excellent/Good Idea"
 Seventy-eight percent favor confiscating the car of someone convicted three times of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), and 63 percent would like breath testers installed in the cars of DUI offenders. Three in four would like drivers 70 or older to be tested annually. People over 65 favor the idea 2-to-1.
 Nine in 10 want strict enforcement of under-age drinking laws, and two-thirds want drivers under 21 to have licenses that could be rescinded for violations of traffic or drinking laws.
 Seventy-eight percent like laws that would require everyone in a car, including passengers, to wear seat belts.
 Since 1980, the Insurance Research Council has annually published its Public Attitude Monitor to gauge opinion on a variety of insurance issues. In May 1993, 2,004 Americans were questioned on topics such as fraud, auto-insurance costs, and the role of attorneys in settling insurance claims. Results from the full sample are accurate to within three percentage points, at the 95 percent level of confidence.
 The Insurance Research Council, based in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook, is a nonprofit research organization that studies issues related to risk and insurance. Copies of PUBLIC ATTITUDE MONITOR 1993 will be available for purchase by contacting the Council at 708-572-1177, or by sending your request to Insurance Research Council, 1200 Harger Rd., Suite 310, Oak Brook, IL 60521.
 -0- 9/30/93
 /CONTACT: Donald Segraves or Elizabeth Sprinkel for Insurance Research Council, 708-572-1177/


CO: Insurance Research Council ST: Illinois IN: INS SU:

SM -- NYFNS1 -- 7074 09/30/93 07:31 EDT
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Date:Sep 30, 1993
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