Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205
05/06/2006 09:00 AM JUDICIARY
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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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HB 347-MOTOR VEHICLE INSURANCE/LICENSE/ NOTICES 9:18:12 AM CHAIR RALPH SEEKINS announced CSHB 347(JUD) am to be up for consideration. REPRESENTATIVE LES GARA, bill sponsor, introduced the HB 347. The bill would close a loophole that has caused a number of drivers to be charged criminally for driving without auto insurance when, in fact, they had insurance. The problem lies with the process of vehicle accident paperwork with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Drivers involved in an accident are required to fill out paperwork and prove that they carry insurance. If they fail to do so, the DMV is required to send a reminder notice to the address in their database even if there is a more current address on the police report. To solve the problem, HB 347 provides that the DMV should send the required information to the driver's last known address. 9:22:03 AM The bill would increase the penalty for uninsured motorists. The bill would also allow for the impoundment of vehicles that are used under the offenses of driving while suspended and driving under the influence of intoxicants. The decision whether to impound the vehicle would be left up to local law enforcement. 9:23:11 AM Senator Gene Therriault joined the committee. DUANE BANNOCK, Director, DMV, testified that the DMV loves the bill. He directed his comments to Section 4 and gave a hypothetical example of a person involved in an automobile accident. The law requires that for every accident that incurs over $500 worth of damage that the DMV must be notified in writing of the name of the insurance company. For various reasons many people do not do that. Sometimes the person is whisked away to the hospital and sometimes people think that the police paperwork fulfilled that requirement. At any rate, after the DMV receives the police report, they look for the yellow notification form and if they don't find it, they send the notification letter. By law, the DMV is required to send the notice to the address in their records even if they know the address in their database is incorrect and even if the address on the police report is updated and known to be accurate. As a result, the customer never gets the notification and has their license suspended without knowing it. 9:29:36 AM CHAIR SEEKINS asked Mr. Bannock whether the police are required to have the person fill out the yellow form while they are performing the accident investigation. MR. BANNOCK said yes but for some reason they often don't fulfill that requirement. He suggested that a representative from the Department of Public Safety respond to the question. CHAIR SEEKINS referred to Section 4(f) and asked how the DMV would decide where to send the notification. MR. BANNOCK replied the DMV would send the notice to the most recent date of address. 9:32:18 AM CHAIR SEEKINS expressed concern with Section 5 because sometimes vehicles get impounded when someone other than the owner was driving. Often times the owner has to pay a storage fee of up to $200 a day. The same thing happens in the position of a lien holder. The way Section 5 is written, it would establish a secondary lien on the vehicle and would establish that the lien holder could only get their vehicle back if they pay the accrued cost of towing and storage of the vehicle. 9:34:58 AM CHAIR SEEKINS added he has seen the situation happen many times where people lose their vehicles because they don't know where they are. He recounted an anecdotal story and said he had a problem with an "uncontrolled ability" to accrue storage costs and create a lien that would give de facto possession of the vehicle to someone other than the real owner. 9:37:40 AM SENATOR FRENCH informed the committee that he had an amendment to address that concern. 9:38:00 AM at ease 9:40:21 AM SENATOR FRENCH moved Amendment 1. 24-LS1372\YA.1 Luckhaupt A M E N D M E N T 1 OFFERED IN THE SENATE TO: CSHB 347(JUD) am Page 1, lines 1 - 2: Delete "mandatory impoundments of vehicles used in certain offenses," Page 2, lines 12 - 20: Delete all material. Hearing no objections, Amendment 1 was adopted. SENATOR GUESS moved SCS CSHB 347(JUD) out of committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes. Hearing no objections, the motion carried.