New Tenn. Law Mandates Harsher Post-Crash Insurance Enforcement

Legislation approved this week by the governor of Tennessee requires police to arrest drivers who are involved in severe collisions if they lack proof of insurance and a driver’s license.

HB 2466, also known as the “Ricky Otts Act,” was named after a 59-year-old Tennessee man who was killed in 2010 when his motorcycle crashed with an SUV, which was driven by a man who did not have his driver’s license or proof of auto insurance at the time of the accident. That driver received a misdemeanor-level citation from police for driving without proper documentation.

Gov. Bill Haslam gave his approval on April 16 to the bill, which requires officers to do more than just give drivers a citation for lacking proper documentation in crashes resulting in “serious bodily injury or death.” Lawmakers backing the legislation said consequences should be harsher for motorists driving on roadways without the required credentials, especially when they cause injury- or death-related crashes.

“When someone with no license nor insurance causes a serious accident, there should be ramifications,” Sen. Andy Berke (D-Chattanooga) stated on his website. Berke was one of 21 senators who voted for the bill earlier this month.

The legislation takes effect and becomes law on July 1 after moving smoothly through the state Legislature with a 92-0 vote in the House and 21-10 vote in the Senate.

The Otts crash also spurred creation of HB 2678, an accompanying piece of legislation that requires higher bail for drivers involved in serious collisions who are found to be in the U.S. illegally. That bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Finance Subcommittee tomorrow.

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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