Lawmakers trying to crack down on uninsured drivers - - Jackson, MS

Lawmakers trying to crack down on uninsured drivers

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

State lawmakers are pushing for a crackdown on uninsured drivers. Right now, there's no real time way to verify that an insurance card is still valid.
But if this bill becomes law, a cross check of your tag and VIN numbers would instantly show law enforcement if you're in compliance. 

It's already the law, you're required to have auto liability insurance. Still, not everyone does.

"28 percent of the people that drive on Mississippi roads do not have liability insurance and we're trying to cut that number down," said House Insurance Committee Chairman Gary Chism.

If you hand over your proof of insurance and the expiration date hasn't passed, a trooper would have to assume it's valid.

"You can still get a ticket for it right now but you have to show a card," noted Chism. "The card is the only enforcement mechanism we've got."

But that's the problem. You may have stopped making payments or even canceled your policy since first receiving that card.

"They give you this card but 30 days later, by the time your next payment comes up, it lapses," explained Chism. "So, the card was issued for 6 months. But you didn't have insurance for  5 of those months.

The verification system would let law enforcement automatically check the insurance status.

"We're going to catch more people with this insurance verification than we ever have with a card," Chism said.

The fine for not having insurance is currently $500. But House Bill 325 would make the fines $300 on the first offense, $400 the second, and $500 thereafter.

They've tried to make this method of verification the law before. But a mistake in the bill's language kept that from happening. If the bill passes and is signed by the Governor this session, it would go into effect immediately.

There's also a pending proposal that would keep you from getting a car tag if you don't have liability insurance.

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