La. Wants Public Advance Notice for Insurance Checkpoints

Louisiana lawmakers want police to give notice to the public before setting up stops where motorists are checked for proper motor vehicle inspection stickers, proof of insurance and other driving documents and seat belts.

State law already sets guidelines for staged law enforcement “checkpoints” that verify the evidence of a policy and seat-belt use. The guidelines require police give notice with signs, flares and other indicators of an approaching stop. Authorities also publicize broad notifications about checkpoints for those driving under the influence or while intoxicated.

Although the prices generated by a Louisiana car insurance quotes comparison may scare residents away from buying a policy, driving uninsured may ultimately cost a driver more than coverage premiums would have.

That’s because Louisiana is one of only 10 states with a “no pay, no play” statute, according to the Insurance Information Institute, which in the Pelican State means uninsured motorists involved in a crash cannot collect compensation from the other party for the first $15,000 of bodily injury damages or the first $25,000 of property damages, even if the other party was at fault for the accident.

Penalties for driving uninsured in Louisiana include a $175 fine for first-time offenders and up to $500 in fines for subsequent offenses.

The latest proposal, HB 713, would apply current checkpoint guidelines to stops for motor vehicle inspection stickers and require police give advance notice for all checkpoints to the public through a local radio or television broadcast and newspaper.

A unanimous vote from the Committee on Transportation, Highways and Public Works on Monday sends the bill to the state House for further consideration.

Other requirements currently applied to insurance and seat-belt stops for Louisiana motorists are:

  • That a supervisor or administrative personnel, not field officer, from the law enforcement agency establish in written form the location, time and duration of the checkpoint
  • That provisions are used to ensure detention of motorists for a minimal length of time
  • That police use a systematic, nonrandom criteria for stopping motorists

The bill was authored by Rep. Marcus Hunter (D-Monroe). Officials say the proposed law requires only that authorities specify the parish where the checkpoint will be hosted and not exact street locations.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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