The chronic problem of Utah drivers who violate the law by intentionally driving without auto insurance may never be solved, state public safety officials say.

They say it may cost taxpayers more than it's worth to bring the small percentage of uninsured drivers into compliance with the law.In recent years the Legislature has eyed three new solutions to the problem and passed two, but presently, all are discarded.

Every year in Utah some 80,000 motor vehicles are involved in 46,000 auto accidents causing personal injury or more than $400 in damages. Statistics indicate some 6 percent of the drivers involved are uninsured. Half of these prove to be "financially irresponsible" - they can't pay for damages if they cause an accident and won't buy insurance to cover their accident liabilities.

These at-fault but judgment-proof drivers cause an indeterminate amount of financial loss to their victims, even if only through the other drivers having to protect themselves at extra cost on their own insurance policies.

Forty states have tried some kind of mandatory insurance scheme, mostly with only mediocre success, and there remain "no simple solutions to the problem," says Ben Christensen, research adviser to the Transportation and Public Safety Interim Committee.