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Mandatory motor vehicle insurance notices to begin statewide in June

Uninsured motorists risk cancellation of registrations

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 17, 2012) – As mandated by the Kentucky Legislature, uninsured motorists across the state will begin receiving notices in June that registrations for their personal vehicles will be canceled if they do not obtain required insurance or show proof of existing insurance.

Registered owners of personal vehicles shown to have been without insurance for more than 60 days will receive the notices. The owners will have 30 days in which to obtain or present verification of coverage.

“It is against the law in Kentucky to operate a motor vehicle without insurance,” said Commissioner Sharon P. Clark, of the Kentucky Department of Insurance. “Vehicle owners who abide by the law are too often victimized in crashes involving uninsured drivers. The Legislature recognized that this was unfair and mandated this new enforcement initiative.”

The mandatory insurance initiative is aimed at plugging an enforcement gap that enables drivers to skirt the law by dropping coverage once their vehicles have been registered. It will be administered by the Department of Vehicle Regulation, of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Though simple in concept, the mandatory insurance initiative required extensive technology and testing. Working together, the Department of Insurance, of the Public Protection Cabinet, and the Department of Vehicle Regulation, of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, conducted a pilot enforcement program that grew to include eight Kentucky counties – Anderson, Ballard, Boyd, Bullitt, Christian, Laurel, Pike and Pulaski.

Each month, insurance companies licensed to do business in Kentucky submit to the Department of Vehicle Regulation the vehicle identification numbers (VIN) of the vehicles their policies insure. A database compares the VINs with those of vehicles registered to Kentucky owners.

Vehicles for which there is no corresponding personal insurance policy are identified, and owners are notified that if they do not obtain insurance or provide proof of insurance within 30 days, their Kentucky registration will be canceled without further notice.

Based on results of the eight-county pilot program, the two Departments estimate that 30,000 to 35,000 uninsured notices will be issued each month. Each notice will identify the vehicle in question by make, model, license plate number and VIN. A notice will be issued only once per individual case.

If a notice has been generated in apparent error – such as in cases of a mismatched VIN or a commercial vehicle erroneously listed as a personal vehicle – the notice instructs the owner to contact the county clerk or the Division of Motor Vehicle Licensing to get the matter resolved. However, owners who fail to take necessary action will be subject to citation for driving without valid registration.

“It is vitally important that vehicle owners who receive an uninsured notice follow the instructions on the notice and contact their county clerk or the Division of Motor Vehicle Licensing,” said Tom Zawacki, Commissioner of the Department of Vehicle Regulation. “They may also have to contact their insurance company, but that should not be the first step. They must take action. The notice cannot be ignored.”

The Transportation Cabinet has a wealth of information about the Mandatory Insurance initiative on its website: http://transportation.ky.gov/Mandatory-Insurance/Pages/default.aspx.