SC Bill Steps Up Penalties for Driving With No Proof of Insurance

Rep. Tom Corbin has introduced a piece of legislation this session that would establish a new set of fines and penalties for motorists who get caught driving without proof of a South Carolina auto insurance policy.

uninsured car getting towedRep. Corbin’s bill would make it so that South Carolina police would be required to tow and impound any vehicles that are being driven without proof of insurance.

The owner would have to pay a $350 fine and any costs for the towing and storage of the vehicle.

Owners of the vehicles would also need to show that they either were in fact insured at the time of the citation or that they have purchased a policy for the car since the citation was issued. Any vehicle not retrieved within 90 days would be considered an abandoned vehicle.

Passage of the bill would add to the penalties for driving uninsured that are already in place.

Currently, drivers can have their driver’s licenses, license plates and vehicle registrations suspended for driving without coverage, and they could have to pay $200 in fees to have them reinstated.

Uninsured motorists are also subject to a $5-a-day fine for each day that they were uninsured, with a cap set at $200.

Lawmakers hope that stepping up the penalties for driving without a policy will encourage more motorists to comply with the state’s financial responsibility laws.

According to the latest estimates from the Insurance Research Council, about 11 percent of drivers in the state were uninsured in 2009, which was below the national average of 13.8 percent.

The text of the legislation does not say how it will affect motorists who have opted to pay the uninsured motorist fee rather than purchase coverage.

South Carolina motorists are allowed by law to pay the Department of Public Safety an annual fee of $550 for the privilege to legally drive an uninsured vehicle.

About Matthew Morisset
Matthew Morisset is a proud alumnus of the University of Redlands, where he obtained a degree in English Literature. Utilizing his passion for analysis and writing, Matthew looks for important trends in the auto insurance industry and their implications for consumers and the market as a whole.

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