That’s according to an industry group that estimates 13.8% of motorists are uninsured, a number that has climbed during the economic downturn as many financially-pressed Americans allowed their insurance to lapse…

Automobile insurance is compulsory in every state except New Hampshire, says Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute— but that doesn’t deter scofflaws.

“Laws in most states have proven ineffective in reducing the numbers of drivers who are uninsured,” Worters says. “Some drivers can’t afford insurance, and some drivers with surcharges for accidents or serious traffic violations don’t want to pay the high premiums that result from a poor driving record. It is costly to track down violators of compulsory insurance laws, and unless the odds of getting caught are high and the penalties severe, drivers will continue to flout the law.”