A New Law in Idaho Targeting Uninsured Drivers Taking Effect Jan. 1

Idaho lawmakers recently announced that a new law targeting uninsured drivers is expected to take effect Jan.1. The state Department of Motor Vehicles set up a stronger standard of financial liability stated on their website. Currently, Idahoans that fail to provide proof of insurance 30 days after a warning from the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), will have their registration suspended. The new law is expected to take effect Jan.1, according to state lawmakers.

There will be a natural increase in the number of liability policyholders. Liability insurance protects someone hurt by someone else’s actions. Unfortunately, there are many uninsured vehicles on the road, and it can become an issue if you are hit by an uninsured motorist.  Insurance companies are already reporting which vehicles are insured to the ITD. Also, the police check the list during a traffic stop.

According to Idaho transportation officials, drivers that don’t maintain insurance on their vehicles may have their registrations suspended. A notice will be sent within two months of suspension stating that they need to purchase insurance coverage. Those who don’t respond may have their vehicle registration revoked.  It costs $75 and proof of insurance to have the registrations reinstated, which is less expensive than being ticketed for driving uninsured.

Last year, the ITD wrote 609 tickets for not providing proof of insurance and 139 tickets for not having insurance. While the state has restructured employees to assist with the administration of the new law, they haven’t hired any new employees so far to help administer it.

Many people are questioning how this new law is going to affect people driving on the road seasonally. According to officials, individuals who drive vehicles seasonally can fill out non-use forms when their vehicles are off the road. They will get an additional notice within a year and submit a non-use form if the vehicle is off the road. People who own vehicles such as parts vehicles will not be affected by the new changes.

The Idaho State Police said this is a real problem in Idaho. They currently give many tickets on a monthly basis to drivers without insurance. Insured drivers won’t notice anything new except that the state will cross-check the vehicle identification numbers against their registered vehicles’ database. People who get ticketed for failure to maintain insurance coverage are generally those who get into an accident and were at fault. In such cases, the uninsured driver is sued to cover the cost.

It’s expected that by January around 150,000 vehicle owners will receive initial notices, which is 8% of the registered vehicles in Idaho.  It’s not a lot, yet officials believe it’s a good start.

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