Colorado governor proposes uninsured drivers bill

| Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Gov. Bill Owens pushed a bill Dec. 17 to stiffen penalties in Colorado for uninsured drivers.

“Under current law, it is often less expensive to pay for the fine than to buy insurance,” Owens said in a statement. “What we’re proposing today gives motorists a stronger incentive to purchase and maintain insurance.”

The proposed legislation, sponsored by Rep. Rob Fairbank, R-Littleton, and Sen. Mark Hillman, R-Burlington, will be considered when lawmakers meet at the Capitol in Denver next month.

The bill would increase the fines from $100 to $500 for first-time offenders and lead to suspension of a driver’s license until proof of insurance was filed.

Repeat offenders would see a $1,000 penalty, up from the current $200, and a four-month license suspension. Evidence of insurance would need to be kept current for three years and would be required for reinstatement of the driver’s license.

The legislation also proposes higher fines for forged proof of insurance cards and more reporting to the state by insurance companies about persons who have dropped or failed to renew their vehicle insurance policies.

“These are needed reforms,” the governor said. “The vast majority of Colorado motorists – who pay premiums year after year – shouldn’t be victimized by those who want a free ride. It’s time to pay up.”

According to the statement, local law-enforcement departments would share the state revenue from fines issued for lack of insurance.

The Colorado State Patrol estimates 16 percent of motorists in the state are driving uninsured.