Stricter rules on uninsured drivers take effect in Delaware

| Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Gov. Ruth Ann Minner signed a bill into law June 23 to put uninsured drivers in Delaware on the road to losing their licenses.

The new law, which took effect immediately, won unanimous support in the Legislature.

Sponsored by Sen. David Sokola, D-Newark, SB20 allows law enforcement to take the license plates off vehicles whose drivers do not have insurance. Currently, 11 percent of Delaware drivers are not covered, WBOC-TV in Delmarva reported.

The state’s Insurance Department fraud investigators or law enforcement are responsible for locating and yanking down the plates from an uninsured driver’s vehicle.

Under previous law, drivers pulled over for a traffic offense or who were involved in an accident and did not have insurance, received a $1,500 fine. The new rule maintains the fine amount, but also gives a warning: purchase insurance in a certain amount of time or lose your license plates.

Those who lose their plates could get them back by presenting proof of insurance and paying fines.

Delaware Insurance Commissioner Matt Dean said the new rule is a matter of basic fairness toward those who follow the law.

“This legislation sends a clear message to uninsured drivers,” Dean said in a released statement. “The law-abiding drivers of Delaware will no longer subsidize your illegal activities by paying higher auto insurance rates.”

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