BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A bill passed by lawmakers and supported by Gov. Bobby Jindal will raise fees and penalties for drivers who don't have the minimum car insurance required under state law.
FINES UNDER THE BILL:
—Reinstatement fees for driving privileges will grow to a range of $100 to $500, depending on how long a person didn't have insurance, up from $25 to $200.
—A driver who provides false information about insurance status will face fines ranging from $250 to $1,000, up from $25 to $200.
—Lack of proof of insurance in the vehicle will carry penalties ranging from $100 to $500, up from $50 to $500.
—Existing caps on fees for multiple violations and for the elderly will be removed.
—A minimum $75 fine will be levied for someone caught in violation of the law requiring insurance on top of the other fines and penalties.
—Criminal sanctions also will rise for someone convicted of knowingly operating a vehicle without insurance.
HOW THE MONEY WILL BE SPENT:
—In the 2014-15 fiscal year, the first slice of money pays for a real-time system to verify insurance (estimated to be $2 million). The next $42 million goes to the state police, and needs legislative authorization for spending the full amount.
—In the 2015-16 fiscal year and thereafter, the first slice of money pays for a real-time system to verify insurance. The next $42 million goes to the state police. Then, $7 million goes to parish sheriffs to pay for housing parolees detained pending a revocation hearing. The next $1 million will pay for new assistant district attorneys around the state. Any additional money will be used for public safety and law enforcement, subject to legislative appropriations.
—The average auto insurance premium in Louisiana is $1,971 a year, while the national average is $1,503, according to data from consumer website Insure.com.
—The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles says between 12 and 14 percent of registered motorists are uninsured.
House Bill 872 can be found at www.legis.la.gov