Tennessee Auto Insurance Bills Advance in State Senate

Guy getting pulled overDrivers caught on the road without coverage in Tennessee could face harsher consequences if a bill currently winding through the state legislature becomes law.

The bill, HB 1834, would more than double the fine for failing to show proof of Tennessee car insurance and would require the impoundment of uninsured vehicles in certain cases.

Rep. Don Miller, the bill’s author, called the uninsured motorist problem in the state a “public safety issue” that the legislation would help address.

According to a recently released study from the Insurance Research Council, an estimated 24 percent of Tennessee motorists were uninsured in 2009.

The way the law stands now, Rep. Miller said Tuesday, “The consequences for driving without insurance is less than what the insurance would be.”

Currently, the fine for failing to show proof of financial protection is $100 or less. The legislation would make it $250 or less for a first offense and $500 or less for subsequent offenses.

Miller’s bill would also require that uninsured vehicles be impounded if the driver has been unable to show proof of coverage more than once within a three-year period. The person who reclaims the vehicle will be charged for towing and storing fees. If it is the person who was caught driving without a policy card, he or she will have to show valid proof of coverage to reclaim the vehicle.

“My desire is not for us to write more tickets,” Miller said, “but really to provide an incentive for people to get insurance”

Another bill, HB 1296, would increase uninsured motorists’ chances of getting caught by requiring police officers to ask for proof of coverage during any traffic stop.

Both bills are still moving through senate committees.

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

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