Proposal: Drivers With no Proof of Insurance in Okla. Could Lose Vehicles

March 6, 2007

A proposal pending in the Oklahoma Senate would allow authorities to seize the vehicles of motorists who fail to show proof of liability insurance during a traffic stop.

State Sen. Patrick Anderson, R-Enid, thinks the proposal will help remove uninsured motorists from Oklahoma roads.

Anderson is trying to insert the proposal into a bill, authored by state Sen. Brian Crain, R-Tulsa, that would prohibit microchips from being inserted into someone’s body without their permission.

Anderson became a proponent of the proposal after family members of his administrative assistant, Sandy Riley, were injured during an October accident with an uninsured driver, who died in the wreck. Riley’s family members have had at least $200,000 so far in medical expenses.

“It’s a significant problem we’re seeing with uninsured motorists,” said Anderson, who added that people many times buy liability insurance during the registration process for their vehicles, only to drop it when the registration is completed.

The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office said that since 2003, more than 91,000 drivers have been ticketed for violating the state’s liability insurance law.

“Just as a trooper, whether we’re just stopping a car, it’s frustrating to us because we know and have experienced having to go to accidents where the uninsured motorist caused the accident, but there’s nothing a person who’s innocent can do if there is an uninsured motorist, except go through the civil process to try and get compensated,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Kera Philippi said.

Current state law allows a driver who is ticketed for not having proof of insurance to drive away after receiving the ticket. Anderson’s proposal would give authorities the ability to seize the driver’s vehicle and sell it at public auction.

Anderson said someone who has liability insurance but simply forgets to carry proof of it in his or her vehicle likely would not have to forfeit the vehicle.

“If nothing else, it will at least raise the issue with the Senate,” Anderson said of the proposal.

Information from: The Oklahoman,

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