Proposed Law would target uninsured drivers in Ohio

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Proposed legislation targeting uninsured drivers would require the registrar of Motor Vehicles to establish a system to electronically verify motor vehicle insurance coverage is gaining bipartisan support in the Ohio House of Representatives. House Bill 71 is pending in the House Insurance Committee.

In addition to the insurance verification system, the bill would require insurance companies to notify the registrar of Motor Vehicles if a liability policy is cancelled or lapses and eliminate the random verification program now in use by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Rep. Kristina Roegner, sponsor of the bill, stated that the proposed legislation is designed to use current available technology to reduce the number of uninsured drivers in Ohio.

“In Ohio, it is illegal to drive without insurance or other means of financial responsibility. However, approximately 10 percent of Ohioans are still driving uninsured,” she said.

Roegner targeted the financial responsibility random verification program as being ineffective. “The random verification program, as its name suggests, randomly targets 5,400 drivers per week. It requires those randomly selected to prove they have insurance within 21 days or face the suspension of their license. Many without insurance are never randomly selected and continue to drive uninsured (and) around 90 percent of those randomly checked do have insurance and the state has just inconvenienced them.”

Roegner reported that many other states use data provided by insurance companies to identify uninsured drivers.

If passed into law, H. R. 71 would require that the BMV contact any driver whose insurance company has notified the agency of cancellation or lapse. The driver would have a reasonable amount of time to provide proof of new insurance or face suspension of their driver’s license. In addition, the BMV would be required to cross-reference drivers applying for vehicle registration or renewal with the list of insured drivers. Anyone attempting to renew or register a vehicle without insurance would be denied.

Peter Spitalieri, PASCO President and CEO stated “Studies show that uninsured motorists are involved in accidents more frequently than insured drivers and that these accidents tend to be more costly. If these drivers are hospitalized, many will be covered under Medicaid which has a direct cost burden to the state.” In addition, Spitalieri stated that insured drivers are often required to pay expenses when they are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. “Accidents with uninsured drivers tend to be more litigated,” he said. 

The Ohio car accident lawyers at Clark, Perdue & List urge all drivers to acquire the necessary auto insurance and to be sure to include uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage which is designed to protect you and your family in the event that an uninsured motorist causes injury to you or a loved one.