The state of Arizona is poised to make it harder for persistent uninsured drivers to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. With the number of uninsured and underinsured motorists on the rise nationwide, analysts are expressing concern that the increasing numbers can mean more costly accidents.
To prevent repeat violators from taking to the road, the state of Arizona is taking steps to implement tougher restrictions. The new legislation is set to discourage the state’s residents from driving without the minimal insurance requirements of the state.
Gov. Jan Brewer recently signed into law HB2224, implementing tougher penalties and restrictions on erring motorists. The new legislation will make repeat offenders of insurance laws present additional proofs to have their licenses, registration, and license plates returned. The law is expected to make things more difficult for motorists who have three subsequent insurance violations for the past three years.
At present, state law requires drivers and car owners to have proof of insurance in the vehicle at all times. Failing to present proof can mean fines ranging from $500 to $1,000. The driver’s license, the car’s registration, and its license plates can also be suspended for up to three months for the first offense. A third offense can mean suspension of the three for up to a year.
Insurance companies and organizations commended the signing of a bill, adding that the legislation will provide protection for responsible motorists as well as place tougher penalties on drivers who habitually ignore calls for auto insurance.
With the new law in place, judges have the ability to know more precisely how many offenses an uninsured driver has committed. The state’s penalties can also be given to multiple offenders, if the judge chooses to do so. The tougher restrictions will also mean that repeat offenders have to regularly report their compliance with state insurance requirements for a period of 36 months.
Arizona Agents Alliance president Rich Franko said that the organization appreciates the signing of the new legislation, adding that it is a crucial milestone in the history of auto insurance in the state of Arizona. He also pointed out that the new law will help protect law-abiding citizens from the risks attributed to uninsured motorists. With the tougher restrictions expected to take full effect in Oct. 1 of this year, insurance companies are optimistic that Arizona will see fewer uninsured motorists on the road.