Telegram to the National Governors' Conference Meeting in Houston, Texas, Urging State Action on No-Fault Automobile Insurance.
IT IS a pleasure to send my greetings and my high regards to the Governors of our States. Each of you is a full and vital partner in our common effort to provide better, more effective and more responsive government for all our people.
I know the Governors share my abiding interest in preserving and strengthening a truly federal system in the United States in which all levels of government Federal, State and local--share in their proper responsibilities.
This results in problems being solved on the level of government which can be most effective on each particular issue. Some problems clearly require Federal remedies, and we have moved to provide them. Many other matters, however, can be handled most effectively by State and local governments, with Washington acting in a supporting role.
On one such important matter, I believe that the States--and not the Federal Government--can best respond to one of the most pressing consumer needs in the Nation today: the urgent question of reform for the present system of automobile insurance. I oppose involving the Federal Government in this insurance reform, and I urge the States to act.
Despite ever-increasing premiums for automobile insurance, the victims of accidents frequently receive inadequate compensation and usually experience harmful delays in the courts.
The best-known alternative to this inefficient and inequitable reparations system is the "no-fault" automobile insurance concept--which provides, in general, that an accident victim's losses are covered by his own insuring company no matter who caused the accident.
I have endorsed this system because I consider it to be a vast improvement and a genuine reform for the benefit of the consuming public.
No-fault insurance is an idea whose time has come. The concept has been gaining wide acceptance, despite the fact that some powerful groups--with a special interest in maintaining the present system--have arrayed themselves against reform.
The achievement of real automobile insurance reform through adoption of the no-fault principles would be a particularly effective way of demonstrating the responsiveness and farsightedness of State governments. I commend those States which already have moved on this important question. I urge that the other States, building on the experience gained so far, make the enactment of no-fault automobile insurance a matter of top consumer priority.
Note: The telegram, dated June 6, 1972, was addressed to Gov. Arch A. Moore, Jr., of West Virginia, Chairman of the National Governors' Conference. The text was released June 7.
Richard Nixon, Telegram to the National Governors' Conference Meeting in Houston, Texas, Urging State Action on No-Fault Automobile Insurance. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/254912