new state law in New Jersey permits police to confiscate vehicles from
motorists caught driving without insurance.
the law took effect earlier this summer, enforcement has been spotty because
Gov. James McGreevey has complained the rules are too tough and should be
changed, the Star-Ledger reported.
provision allows police to impound vehicles from motorists if they are unable
to provide proof of insurance within 24 hours of being pulled over. It was
written into the governor’s 2003 auto insurance reform law and took effect June
prior to the implementation date, a McGreevey-appointed task force concluded
that uninsured motorists should be given a “reasonable” amount of time so they
could go before a judge who would decide whether to seize the vehicle.
Legislators are expected to amend the law this fall.
a result, many law enforcement agencies are reluctant to enforce the provision
now on the books.
Cicchetti, chairman of the traffic safety committee for the New Jersey Chiefs
of Police Association and chief of police in Washington Township, NJ, told the
newspaper he is advising officials to avoid impounding vehicles until the law
is changed. Instead, he recommends police write tickets that could cost uninsured
drivers their licenses, a hefty fine and/or possible jail time.
chiefs also have balked at another provision that quadrupled fines for driving
without insurance to $176 – up from $44. The task force has since recommended
the fine be cut to $105.