Topic:
AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE;
Location:
INSURANCE - MOTOR VEHICLE;

OLR Research Report


July 27, 2004

 

2004-R-0553

PENALTIES FOR UNINSURED DRIVERS

By: Janet L. Kaminski, Associate Legislative Attorney

You asked (1) if, since 2001, there have been any Connecticut proposed bills calling for stricter penalties against uninsured drivers and (2) what surrounding states have done regarding this topic.

SUMMARY

Since 2001, there was one proposed bill to increase the penalties for driving without insurance. Representative Fontana introduced Proposed Bill 5822 (January Session, 2001), which increased penalties for operating a motor vehicle without insurance by (1) setting the fines for violations to an amount that exceeds the cost of purchasing automobile insurance and (2) revoking the operator's license of an uninsured driver or seizing the uninsured vehicle. The Insurance and Real Estate Committee took no action on the bill.

We reviewed statutes for Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. Massachusetts and Rhode Island appear not to have penalties for driving without motor vehicle insurance. Like Connecticut, New Jersey and New York have a range of penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and driver's license or motor vehicle registration suspension.

PENALTIES FOR UNINSURED DRIVERS

Connecticut

In Connecticut, a motor vehicle owner who operates or permits the operation of his uninsured vehicle is guilty of a class C misdemeanor and subject to up to three months imprisonment, a fine up to $500, or both (CGS 38a-371(d)).

Upon conviction, an uninsured motorist is subject to a fine from $100 to $1,000 and a suspended registration and driver's license for one month for a first conviction and six months for subsequent convictions (CGS 14-213b).

An uninsured motorist whose registration has been suspended may also have his license plates confiscated and vehicle impounded (CGS 14-12h).

New Jersey

An uninsured motorist in New Jersey is subject to the following penalties for a first offense: (1) a fine from $300 to $1,000, (2) a period of community service determined by the court, and (3) loss of driver's license for one year.

The penalties for any subsequent offense are: (1) a fine up to $5,000, (2) up to 14 days imprisonment, (3) 30 days community service, and (4) loss of driver's license for two years, after which he may apply for a license, to be granted at the discretion of the Department of Motor Vehicle's director (N.J.S.A. 39:6B-2).

New York

In New York, uninsured motorists are guilty of a traffic infraction. Upon conviction, an uninsured motorist may be fined from $150 to $1,500, imprisoned up to 15 days, or both. In addition, he is subject to a civil penalty of $750 (NY VEH & TRAF 319 (1) and (5)).

New York also permits the impoundment of an uninsured vehicle involved in an accident resulting in death or bodily injuries (NY VEH & TRAF 318(12)(a)).

JLK:ts