New York State
Insurance Department

 GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL TO REMOVE UNINSURED DRIVERS FROM ROADS

Pilot Program Will Create Data Base of Drivers' Insurance Information


Albany, October 14, 1997

Governor George E. Pataki today announced he has signed into law legislation that will reduce the number of uninsured drivers in New York State, a step designed to make New York's streets and highways safer.

The new law creates a pilot program that will create and maintain an up-to-date motor vehicle computer database. The ultimate goal is to create a vehicle sticker system enabling law enforcement officers to instantaneously determine if a motorist has insurance.

"Uninsured motorists pose a danger to those safe, responsible drivers who maintain their insurance coverage," Governor Pataki said. "Through advances in computer technology we can ultimately create a system where a police officer can, by reading a sticker on a motor vehicle, instantaneously determine if the driver has insurance. The officer can then quickly get an uninsured driver off the road.

"In addition to the personal tragedy they cause, uninsured drivers who cause accidents and serious injuries raise insurance costs for all drivers," the Governor said. "This law immediately requires insurers to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles sooner when a motorist no longer has insurance, and begins the process of creating a computer database and vehicle insurance identification sticker system."

The bill amends the Insurance Law and Vehicle and Traffic Law to establish a pilot program that will ensure all automobiles that are registered and driven in New York State have adequate motor vehicle insurance. Specifically, the pilot program will lead to the creation and maintenance of an up-to-date insured motorist identification database, and, ultimately, an on-line registry of motor vehicle insurance.

"By signing this bill into law, Governor Pataki has put New York on the cutting edge of technology," Chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee, State Senator Guy Velella said. "We have struck a blow for the consumer in the war on controlling auto insurance rates."

By reducing the number of uninsured drivers on the State's roads, auto insurance rates should stabilize leading to a reduction in auto insurance rates.

Governor Pataki said he was signing the legislation because of the importance of the issue, but only after the legislation's sponsors agreed to make changes through chapter amendments that will improve it.

These changes include empowering the Superintendent of Insurance to impose penalties on insurers who fail to comply with electronic data requirements, a tighter time frame for the reporting of insurance data, enhancing the pilot program, and extending the law's effective date.

"These changes will make a good law even better, and that will mean the creation of a program that will be more effective in riding our streets of uninsured drivers," Governor Pataki said.


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