Uninsured Driver?

New Rhode Island DMV system catches and fines you!

 

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Uninsured fines

Here it is in more detail:

By the 7th of every month, insurers are required to provide the DMV with a record of every motor vehicle policy it carries, including the name, date of birth and driver’s license number of each insured driver, and the vehicle identification number of each covered vehicle.

If the matchup indicates a vehicle has been uninsured for at least three months, the company would notify the vehicle’s owner that he or she has 15 days to provide proof of insurance, or make a compelling case for an exemption.

If the owner fails to provide “sufficient proof” after a second warning notice, and a second 15-day response period, the DMV would automatically revoke the registration.

To get it back, the driver would have to pay a $250 reinstatement fee “in addition to any other fines or penalties imposed by law.”

 

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Valley Breeze
1/28/2015

Uninsured motorists to get first notices under new system Feb. 7


Database meant to protect drivers, drive down costs


By ETHAN SHOREY, Breeze Online News Editor
Rhode Islanders who have failed to get insurance on their vehicle during the past three months will get notices from the Department of Motor Vehicles next week ordering them to sign up or face further consequences.
The first three-month period under the state's new Uninsured Motorist Identification Database ends on Feb. 7, when notices will be sent out to those who haven't had insurance since October.
Rhode Island lawmakers passed a bill in 2013 establishing the "Uninsured Motorist Identification Database Procedure," which allowed the state to better track those who drive without insurance and enforce a "compulsory insurance law" first established back in 1991.
The system, which sets forth a series of warnings and then a suspension of registrations if drivers don't comply, is a good thing for both insurance companies, with more people insured more of the time, and drivers who will pay less for insurance in the long run, according to officials.
At the time the bill passed in 2013, DMV officials were estimating that between 15 and 18 percent of 950,000 registered vehicles in the state are uninsured, a number that leads to higher insurance costs for drivers.
John DiTomasso, assistant administrator at the DMV, told The Breeze the intent of the new law is "to go after the drivers who don't bother" to sign up again for insurance once it lapses.
"The goal of the program is to reduce the number of uninsured people out on the highway," he said.
What would happen under the old system, said DiTomasso, is that drivers would only be identified as not having insurance if they were asked for their registration after being questioned by police after a stop or accident. Enforcement was only happening "in the field," he said, and then drivers would head to traffic court.
All insurance companies are now on board with a requirement that they provide the DMV with a list of every motor vehicle policy they carry by the seventh day of every month, said DiTomasso.
If an actively registered vehicle does not have an associated insurance policy for three months in a row, that customer is flagged and a notice is sent to them indicating that they are required to get insurance. If For example, if  motorists don't comply with the notices that are sent on August. 7, they'll get a second notice in September. The DMV will start revoking registrations in October  if the delinquent drivers still haven't complied.
Once a registration is revoked, a driver will have to pay a $250 revocation fee plus the DMV's $1.50 "technology fee" either online or in person.
According to a release from the DMV on the new verification system, "It is clear that uninsured motorists operating on the roads of this state pose risks." Drivers have accidents every day with others who are not insured "and are then left to deal with the financial consequences," according to the DMV.
"Although Rhode Island has had a compulsory insurance law since 1991, there hasn't been an efficient and effective way to ensure compliance with that law," states the DMV.
According to DiTomasso, the information from insurance companies is cross-referenced with current registration data at the DMV and any of the "non-matches" then "trigger the letter."
The reason there is a good amount of time between the insurance lapsing and the letters going out is that officials understand that there's plenty of flux within the insurance industry, with some brief gaps inevitable, said DiTomasso. The intent, again, is to nab those who are simply choosing not to get insurance and to be fair to everyone, he said.
Beginning in 2012, members of the insurance industry, officials from the Department of Business Regulation, and leaders at the DMV, with support from the General Assembly, developed a process to address the problem of ensuring compliance with insurance requirements. The idea was for a system that wouldn't be burdensome for the insurance industry or state agencies while giving motorists the opportunity to obey the law without being punished.
A request for proposals was issued to select a vendor to create the insurance verification program. The chosen vendor, MV Solutions of South Carolina, is paid solely through a percentage of reinstatement fees collected as part of the program, meaning there is no cost to the state to run it.

 

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Providence Journal
BY KATHERINE GREGG

Journal State House Bureau
kgregg@providencejournal.com
PROVIDENCE — In the final days of this year’s session, state lawmakers gave the go-ahead for the hiring of a private contractor to help the state identify, chase down and suspend the registration of vehicles owned by Rhode Island drivers without the minimum insurance required by law.
No one in Rhode Island knows for sure how many uninsured motorists are on the road.
But Anthony J. Silva, administrator of the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles, estimates 15 to 18 percent of about 950,000 registered vehicles in Rhode Island are uninsured, a phenomenon that works itself into the cost of insurance for all drivers.
The only way the state identifies these uninsured drivers now is when they are in an accident or stopped and asked for their license and registration by a police officer, for any one of a number of possible reasons. And the numbers are substantial.
During a two-year period that ran from Jan. 1, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2012, there were a total of 18,176 citations issued for “operating without insurance,” according to state court records. And that does not include the number suspended administratively by the DMV.
The legislation that finally cleared the General Assembly on July 1 directs the DMV to hire a private contractor to create and continuously update an uninsured motorist identification database by comparing information the insurers supply monthly with the state’s list of registered vehicles.
By the 7th of every month, the insurers would be required to provide the DMV with a record of every motor vehicle policy it carries, including the name, date of birth and driver’s license number of each insured driver, and the vehicle identification number of each covered vehicle.
If the matchup indicates a vehicle has been uninsured for at least three months, the company would notify the vehicle’s owner that he or she has 15 days to provide proof of insurance, or make a compelling case for an exemption.
If the owner fails to provide “sufficient proof” after a second warning notice, and a second 15-day response period, the DMV would automatically revoke the registration.
To get it back, the driver would have to pay a $250 reinstatement fee “in addition to any other fines or penalties imposed by law.”
The private company would be paid a percentage of the reinstatement fees, in an amount yet to be determined by the DMV.
Despite the millions of dollars poured into computer upgrades over the years, Silva said the DMV still has a 40-year-old computer system that is not capable of quickly calculating the total number of registrations suspended over the last year as a result of a driver’s failure to carry the required minimum insurance coverage.
That includes $25,000 for the bodily injury or death of one person, $50,000 for more than one person, and $25,000 for property damage.
It also remains unclear how much the stepped-up enforcement effort might raise, but it could be millions.
A financial analysis of an early version of the bill estimated the new beefed-up system for tracking uninsured drivers could raise $4,143,590 in new registration reinstatement fees during the year that begins on July 1, 2014, with the contractor getting a 15 percent contingency fee and the state keeping the remaining $3.5 million.
In the fiscal note it prepared for the Senate, the state’s Office of Revenue Analysis also anticipated the previously uninsured drivers would pay an additional $17.8 million in premiums, subject to the state’s 2 percent gross premiums tax. And that would produce an additional $357,136 in new taxes for the state.
Key elements of the bill have changed since then. There is no longer a surcharge. The reinstatement fee would remain where it is at $250, but any money collected as a direct result of the new database-driven, automatic suspension system would go into a special “restricted receipt account” from which the contractor would be paid.
At least 26 states already have uninsured motorist databases. Of that number, eight states outside New England allow their “administrating agencies to contract the creation and administration of these databases to third-parties, agents, or vendors,” according to Anne S. Teigen, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The lead sponsors of the matching House and Senate bills were Sen. Louis DiPalma, D-Middletown, and Rep. Brian Kennedy, D-Hopkinton, the chairman of the House Corporations Committee.
While patterned after a Utah law that dramatically reduced the number of uninsured drivers there, Kennedy said the Rhode Island legislation winding its way to Governor Chafee’s desk was the result of compromises forged in multiple meetings between lawmakers, the insurance industry and representatives of both the DMV and the Department of Business Regulation.
“I think it is going to be a very positive piece of legislation … [that] will force more people people to buy insurance,” Kennedy said, in a voicemail he left with The Providence Journal.
Assuming Chafee signs the legislation, Silva said he hoped to issue a request-for-proposals by late fall, in plenty of time to have the new system up and running by July 1, 2014.
Kennedy said there was a competing bill, backed by former House Speaker John Harwood, that would have created an electronic tracking system, that relied on cameras mounted on police cars and bridges to photograph license plates and feed them into a computer database. But Kennedy said the insurers, state police and the American Civil Liberties Union all voiced serious concerns.

 

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