California AG Approves Uninsured Motorist Ballot Initiative

January 22, 2008

A proposed measure that would require California state and local law enforcement officers to remove the license plates of any vehicle lacking proof of insurance and current valid registration is one step closer to reaching the state’s November 2008 ballot.

On Jan. 11, the California Attorney General’s Office cleared the way for proponents of the measure to begin collecting signatures.

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner is a key supporter of the measure, known as the “Uninsured Motorists Act of 2008.” The commissioner said that one in four California drivers do not have auto insurance.

“It’s a public safety issue and drives up the costs of auto insurance for everyone else,” Poizner said.

The commissioner said he is still analyzing the AG’s document, specifically the ballot title, summary and likely impact, but that “it looks quite promising.”

The measure also requires owners of vehicles with removed plates to obtain insurance within seven days or have their vehicle be subject to impoundment.

While Poizner isn’t making any predictions of what may happen in November if the initiative is included on the ballot, he noted that, “People in the state of California are very frustrated with the high percentage of uninsured drivers and rising auto insurance rates, and they are looking for a solution.”

Poizner acknowledged that financial factors may play a role in so many Californians driving without proper coverage. “We’re looking into options for low income folks to help them afford insurance,” said the commissioner.

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