Okla. Gov. Signs License Plate Bill Targeting Uninsured Drivers

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a measure this week authorizing police to seize the license plates of uninsured drivers, who would then get temporarily insured under a newly created coverage plan.

The Temporary Motorist Liability Plan created under HB 1792 provides coverage to Oklahomans at the state’s minimum 25/50/25 levels and will be funded by additional premiums and fees charged to uninsured drivers. The plan will charge a daily rate to drivers.

After police confiscate an uninsured driver’s license plates and issue a citation for lacking coverage, that driver will have 10 business days to obtain a valid policy before paying a $125 fee to his or her county sheriff’s office to retrieve the plates.

Under the measure, that divvied-up fee puts $25 toward funding the temporary insurance plan, which will be administered by a statewide association of county sheriffs.

Provisions of the new law go into effect on Nov. 1.

In early March, state representatives passed the proposal by a 85-6 vote before senators did the same last week with a 26-15 vote.

The law, proposed by Rep. Mike Christian (R-Oklahoma City), was backed by motorist groups like the Oklahoma Trucking Association, traffic safety groups like the AAA and state administrators like John Doak, commissioner of the Oklahoma Insurance Department.

All came together as part of the Coalition Against Uninsured Drivers in a February press conference, where they first proposed HB 1792 and sounded the alarm about the state’s high rate of uninsured drivers.

According to Doak, Oklahoma has more than 560,000 cars lacking the coverage required to be on the roads.

The latest data from the Insurance Research Council shows that the Sooner State has the third-highest rate of uninsured motorists in the U.S. with nearly 1 out of every 4 drivers there driving without proper coverage.

Doak also estimated that, with millions of dollars in tax revenue lost every year, the state’s general revenue is missing out on $80 million over 10 years because of uninsured drivers.

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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