Office of the Governor
Governor Takes Aim At Uninsured Motorists
Will crack down on uninsured drivers, fulfilling campaign promise
(Trenton) – Following through on a campaign promise to fight high auto insurance rates by implementing a “zero tolerance” policy against uninsured drivers, Governor James E. McGreevey, who was joined by Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Holly Bakke, today proposed a plan to impound the vehicles of individuals who drive without insurance.
“Today in New Jersey, good drivers pay for bad and uninsured drivers,” said McGreevey. “The State of New Jersey has a law requiring drivers to have insurance. With this legislation, that law will become meaningful. If you drive a car in New Jersey and are stopped and cannot provide an auto insurance card in 24 hours your car will be impounded.”
In addition, Governor McGreevey noted that auto insurance premiums are a major funding source for the State’s trauma centers, and said that uninsured drivers should not be supported by those who are insured.
“Cracking down on the 600,000 uninsured drivers in this State will address the high auto insurance costs which are presently being borne by insured drivers,” said McGreevey. “This proposal will introduce fairness to a system that has allowed uninsured drivers to get off the hook.”
“Governor McGreevey's initiative speaks to the fundamental unfairness of driving without insurance. Not only are uninsured drivers putting themselves and those around them at risk, they have refused to become part of a system that protects all of us when there's an accident," Commissioner Bakke said. "It's not fair to the millions of hard-working New Jerseyans who are paying their premiums that some are driving without coverage."
Under Governor McGreevey’s plan, any driver who is unable to display an insurance identification card will have 24-hours to provide the police with valid proof of insurance. Any driver who fails to do so will have a warrant issued for the impoundment of their vehicle.
The driver will be responsible for all towing and storage costs in the event of impoundment, as well as the administrative fee of $100. In addition, the driver will be required to retrieve the vehicle within 30 days, or the car will be auctioned following a hearing.
Governor McGreevey’s plan further targets uninsured drivers by increasing the penalty for failure to display an insurance identification card from $100 to $150. Of this amount, $25 will be dedicated towards the Uninsured Motorist Prevention Fund, which maintains the Department of Motor Vehicles’ database of automobile insurance information.
Since taking office, Governor McGreevey has kept his commitment to tackling the issue of New Jersey’s rising auto insurance rates and has worked to bring added stability to the market.
- He has acted to restore the Office of the Public Advocate to give consumers a voice in ratemaking decisions, and the FY03 budget he signed yesterday includes $2.5 million to fund this Office.
- Two weeks ago, the McGreevey administration issued an order that will keep State Farm Indemnity - New Jersey’s largest auto insurer - in the State for the next three years at least. This move will ensure that more than a half-million New Jerseyans are not forced to look for new insurance.