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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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S.215

Introduced by   Senator Sears of Bennington District

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Motor vehicles; financial responsibility; penalty; verification of insurance

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to:

(1)  Increase the penalty for failure to have the statutorily required motor vehicle insurance in effect; and

(2)  Permit the commissioner of motor vehicles to select random samples from a pool of state drivers and require them to provide written proof of insurance.  Submitting false proof results in a six-month license suspension and a $500.00 fine.

AN ACT RELATING TO PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO HAVE MOTOR VEHICLE INSURANCE AND VERIFICATION OF THE INSURANCE

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  23 V.S.A. § 800 is amended to read:

§ 800.  MAINTENANCE OF FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

(a)   No owner or operator of a motor vehicle required to be licensed shall operate or permit the operation of the vehicle upon the highways of the state without having in effect an automobile liability policy or bond in the amounts of at least $25,000.00 for one person and $50,000.00 for two or more persons killed or injured and $10,000.00 for damages to property in any one accident. In lieu thereof, evidence of self-insurance in the amount of $115,000.00 must be filed with the commissioner of motor vehicles.  Such financial responsibility shall be maintained and evidenced in a form prescribed by the commissioner. The commissioner may require that evidence of financial responsibility be produced before motor vehicle inspections are performed pursuant to the requirements of 23 V.S.A. § section 1222 of this title.

(b)  A person who violates this section shall be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $100.00 $500.00, and such a violation shall be a traffic violation within the meaning of chapter 24 29 of this title Title 4.

Sec. 2.  23 V.S.A. § 811 is added to read:

§ 811.  VERIFICATION OF INSURANCE; RANDOM SAMPLING

(a)  The commissioner may select random samples of motor vehicle registrations for the purpose of verifying whether or not the motor vehicles are insured.  In addition to general random samples, the commissioner may select for insurance verification random samples of registrations of motor vehicles owned by persons:

(1)  whose motor vehicle registrations have been suspended at any time during the preceding three years;

(2)  whose privilege to operate a motor vehicle has been suspended at any time during the preceding three years; or

(3)  who during the preceding three years acquired ownership of a motor vehicle while the vehicle’s registration was suspended.

(b)  The commissioner may send to owners of motor vehicles randomly selected under subsection (a) of this section requests for information about the vehicle’s liability insurance coverage.  The request shall require the owner to state whether or not the motor vehicle was insured on the verification date stated in the commissioner’s request and shall require the owner to provide the names and addresses of insurers, policy numbers, and expiration dates of insurance coverage for the vehicle.

(c)  Within 30 days after the commissioner mails a request, the owner to whom it is sent shall furnish the requested information to the commissioner on a form above the owner's signed affirmation that the information is true and correct.  Evidence of financial responsibility which satisfies the requirements of sections 800 and 801 of this title shall constitute a satisfactory response to the commissioner’s request for information under this section.

(d)  Any owner whose response indicates that his or her vehicle was not covered by a liability insurance policy on the verification date stated in the commissioner’s request, or who fails to respond to the commissioner’s request within the time provided, shall be deemed to have violated subsection 800(b) of this title.  The commissioner shall notify any owner who violates this subsection that the owner’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be suspended 30 days after the date of the mailing of the notice, unless the owner furnishes proof to the commissioner that the vehicle is covered by an insurance policy which satisfies the requirements of subsection 800(a) of this title, and that the privilege shall remain suspended until such proof of insurance is provided.

(e)  If the owner responds to the request for information by asserting that his or her vehicle was covered by a liability insurance policy on the verification date stated in the commissioner’s request, the commissioner may conduct a verification of the response by furnishing necessary information to the insurer named in the response.  The insurer shall within 30 days inform the commissioner whether on the verification date stated the motor vehicle was covered by an insurance policy issued by the insurer.  The commissioner may by rule prescribe the procedures for verification.

(f)  If the commissioner determines that the proof of insurance submitted by a motor vehicle owner under subsection (e) of this section is false, the commissioner shall suspend the owner's privilege to operate a motor vehicle in this state.  The commissioner shall terminate the suspension six months after its effective date upon payment by the owner of a reinstatement fee of $500.00 and submission of proof of insurance which satisfies the requirements of subsection 800(a) of this title.

(g)  The verification procedure established under this section shall not be construed to permit individual inspections of vehicles on a highway solely for the purpose of verifying the existence of an insurance policy. 

(h)  No random sample selected under this section shall be categorized on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, service in the armed forces of the United States, handicap as defined by 21 V.S.A.

§ 495d(5), sexual orientation, gender identity, economic status, or geography.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us