Rhode Island nears crackdown on uninsured drivers

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 7/15/2013

An effort to help identify Rhode Island’s uninsured motorists could soon become law. State lawmakers sent a bill to the governor that would authorize the hiring of a private contractor to track down uninsured motorists.

Rhode Island law now authorizes that uninsured motorists be identified following an accident or during vehicle stops by police. However, the state estimates that as many as 170,000 registered vehicles in the state are uninsured.

The bill on Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s desk would make a private contractor responsible for assisting the state identify, locate and suspend the registration of vehicles owned by residents who don’t have the minimum insurance required.

The private contractor would be responsible for creating and regularly updating a database. Information provided by insurers would be compared each month with the state’s list of registered vehicles.

Vehicles uninsured for at least three months would result in owners receiving a 15-day notice to provide proof of insurance. A second notice of failure to provide proof must be sent before violators could have their registration revoked.

Registration could be reinstated for $250 once the vehicle is insured.

If signed into law, Rhode Island would become the 27th state to maintain a database of uninsured motorists. H5438 would take effect on July 1, 2014.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Rhode Island, click here.

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