Two new regulations tightening up on uninsured motorists driving in Georgia go into effect April 1 for drivers with a second or subsequent suspension during any five-year period: The Department of Motor Vehicle Safety will suspend the vehicle registration for 90 days when a vehicle registration is suspended for a second time, and on the third or subsequent occurrence in any five-year period, the registered owner must obtain and keep Georgia liability insurance coverage on their vehicle.
When such a vehicle owner receives such a notice, the vehicle cannot be operated until the 90-day suspension period has elapsed and a $25 lapse fee and $60 restoration fee has been paid plus any vehicle ad valorem taxes that may be due if it is during their registration period.
The law requires the suspension of the vehicle’s registration for six-months when it is the third or subsequent occurrence within any five-year period. As of April 1 the vehicle’s registered owner must obtain and keep continuous Georgia liability insurance coverage on their vehicle; pay a $25.00 lapse fee and a $160.00 reinstatement fee plus any vehicle ad valorem taxes that may be due if it is during their registration period; not drive the vehicle for six months after the registration was suspended. Additional penalties will apply if the vehicle’s registered owner is convicted of driving a vehicle with a suspended or cancelled registration.
Recent figures from the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicle Safety show that the implementation of the Georgia Electronic Insurance Compliance System has had a positive effect on lowering the number of uninsured motorists in Georgia. Of the 6,797,459 vehicles requiring insurance, 97.5 percent have acceptable insurance. This lowers the number of uninsured drivers to approximately 166,593 vehicles or 2.5 percent. Although it is difficult to accurately gauge the number of drivers operating without insurance before the database, estimates range from 15 to 30 percent.
“This strategy to battle uninsured motorists has proven valuable,” James R. Davis, DMSV commissioner said. “The DMVS project team, along with our county tax commissioner partners and the insurance industry, has worked tirelessly to implement this program. A major goal was to eliminate any inconvenience for those drivers who always strive to maintain continuous liability insurance.”
Since January 1, 2004, Georgia motorists have been required to be registered in the legislatively mandated electronic verification system that enables law enforcement to access insurance verification data from their vehicles through the state run database. GEICS compares the data received from insurance companies and matches it against the state’s tag and title database. It requires that each vehicle identification number (VIN) on your vehicle’s registration card or tag receipt match the vehicle identification number on your insurance card. If the two numbers match, the database will indicate a valid match when checked by law enforcement or when purchasing a tag. If the lengthy alphanumeric number is even one digit off, there is a problem. The DMVS quickly established an on-line service for owners to verify their vehicle’s inclusion in the database via www.dmvs.ga.gov.
Motorists are still provided insurance cards and are legally required to continue to carry them. They continue to be very important should you become involved in a traffic accident or travel out of state.
In April 2004, DMVS began notifying motorists who failed to maintain continuous coverage of a possible fee or pending suspension. Approximately 275,000 letters were mailed in April giving recipients until May 1st to respond or face suspensions.
If there is a registration suspension and it is the first occurrence, the vehicle’s registered owner must obtain and keep continuous Georgia liability insurance coverage on their vehicle; pay a lapse fee of $25; pay a $60 reinstatement fee; and pay any other registration fees and vehicle ad valorem taxes due, if it is during the owner’s registration period. Fees paid to the state or county tag office are submitted to the department, less the tag agent’s fee, and deposited to the state general fund.
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