Louisiana Towing Bill Passes State Legislature, Heads to Governor

A bill that allows police to tow cars of drivers lacking insurance coverage on a first offense received support in the state Senate yesterday, completing its run through the Legislature and sending it to the governor’s office.

HB 1053 repeals current law that prohibits officers from towing cars of first-time violators of the compulsory insurance law and allows towing only on second and subsequent offenses. State senators passed the bill on May 24 with a 28-3 vote. The state House passed the bill by an 82-7 vote on April 25.

After the bill’s approval by senators, Speaker of the House Chuck Kleckley signed off on the latest version agreed upon by the state House and Senate, which sends the legislation to Gov. Bobby Jindal for final consideration.

The bill, supported by the Louisiana State Police, aims to help bring down the number of uninsured drivers in the state by returning to harsher enforcement of the law, according to Rep. Ray Garafalo (R- Meraux), who authored the legislation.

Since July 2011, 17,030 tickets were issued to motorists who failed to provide proof of coverage and 16,321 of those were ultimately found to be uninsured, according to Garafalo, who presented the statistics on May 17 to members of the Senate Committee on Transportation, Highway and Public Works.

Garafalo said that police aren’t required to tow cars if they contain elderly passengers, children under 13 years old or an “imminent danger to the public is present.”

Garafalo also said that other pending legislation, HB 1130, would spare motorists who simply forgot to carry proof of insurance in their car from getting towed by expanding the kinds of proof that are accepted by police to include electronic and mobile devices.

HB 1130 saw a relatively quick legislative process with strong support as it moved from the House with a 94-0 vote on April 25 and through the Senate with a 39-0 vote on May 16. The legislation is scheduled for concurrence between the state House and Senate on May 29.

Uninsured motorists hoping to avoid being towed under harsher enforcement of laws requiring coverage should run a car insurance comparison to get a policy in place.

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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