Rhode Island recently enacted legislation that will allow the division of motor vehicles to hire a third-party contractor to develop an uninsured motorist identification database — and send warning notices to motorists who lack the minimum insurance required by law.
Motorists who remain uninsured after two warning notices would get the vehicle registrations revoked and would have to pay a $250 administrative fee — in addition to any other fines or penalties imposed by law — to reinstate the registrations.
Although there are no specific figures on how many motorists are uninsured on Rhode Island roads, approximately 15 to 18 percent of about 950,000 registered vehicles in Rhode Island may be uninsured, according to an estimate provided by Anthony J. Silva, administrator of the division of motor vehicles, as reported by The Providence Journal.
The legislation (H5438/S0771aa) “An Act Relating to Motor and Other Vehicles — Uninsured Motorist Identification Database Procedure” was signed by Gov. Lincoln Chafee last month. It will take effect on July 1, 2014.
The contractor, serving as a “designated agent,” would maintain the database by using the motor vehicle insurance information provided by the insurers on a monthly basis and compare that information against all current motor vehicle registrations.
If an owner of a motor vehicle is shown to be uninsured for at least three consecutive months, the designated agent would send a warning notice to the vehicle owner. The owner would then have 15 days to provide to the designated agent proof of insurance. Those who fail to provide proof of insurance would then get a second notice, with another 15 days to respond.
If the situation is not rectified after these two notices and 30 days, the division of motor vehicles would be notified and the vehicle registration would be revoked. The revoked registration would be reinstated after the vehicle owner pays an administrative reinstatement fee of $250 as well as any other fines or penalties imposed by law.