The percentage of U.S. motorists driving without insurance has been steadily creeping upward, with the highest number in Mississippi, according to a recent study.

Reacting to the findings by the not-for-profit Insurance Research Council in Malverne, Pa., Mississippi's top insurance regulator said he thought socio-economic factors might be involved.

IRC said the estimated percentage of uninsured motorists increased nationally from 12.7 percent in 1999 to 14.6 percent in 2004, with the amount of uninsured motorists varying widely from state to state.

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