Tennessee Passes Law to Punish Uninsured Drivers
Reckless uninsured drivers have been one of the biggest concerns for people on the road in Tennessee for years, and the state legislator is finally cracking down on those driving without auto insurance. Last week, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed into law new restrictions and penalties imposed upon uninsured motorists across the state, and it is being touted as one of the most aggressive packages of uninsured driving laws since mandatory liability insurance was implemented in the 1970s.
Provisions of the New Law
Effective July 1, the new law, structured to impose penalties against uninsured drivers across the state, will include a number of new provisions. These punishments and requirements for uninsured motorists will do the following:
- Increase the fine for failure to show proof of insurance from $100 to $300;
- Authorize the creation of a statewide insurance verification program that would track uninsured motorists through their vehicle registration;
- Create an increasing schedule of fines against drivers that are found to be uninsured through the verification program, with the maximum penalty being a seizure of vehicle tags and $300 reinstatement fee; and
- Allow police the discretion to tow the vehicles of drivers cited for failure to show proof of insurance.
The creation of the verification program was one of the most important aspects of the new law, which will be funded by fine revenue estimated at around $2.8 million. The program will be analogous to the state’s existing vehicle registration system.
Tennessee Uninsured Motorists
The importance of the new laws imposed to punish uninsured motorists in the state cannot be understated. Last year, there were over 40,000 car accidents in Tennessee where at least one party involved was uninsured. This state is sixth in the nation for the number of uninsured drivers with nearly 23% uninsured. In Memphis alone, 30,000 drivers were cited last year for driving without auto insurance, but the fine at the time was only $100. Of those, records show that 8,000 still are not registered for insurance.
These numbers are despite the fact that Tennessee has mandated proof of liability insurance for all drivers across the state. Every driver is required by law to carry at least $25,000 for one injury or death, $50,000 for all injuries or death, and $15,000 for property damage in an auto insurance policy. However, there was simply not enough incentive before the passage of this new law for uninsured motorists to purchase the requisite auto insurance.
Our Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
Getting involved in an auto accident with an uninsured motorist can wreak havoc on a personal injury case. At Calhoun Law, PLC, we understand the complexities of an uninsured motorist accident and are here to help. Call or contact our Nashville office today for a free and confidential consultation of your case.