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BMV puts the brakes on enforcing uninsured motorist registry

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The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles agreed Monday to halt enforcement of the “Previously Uninsured Motorist Registry” and reinstate the driver’s licenses of thousands of Hoosiers.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana is claiming a “win” in its ongoing litigation seeking to stop the BMV from demanding proof of auto insurance from individuals who are not required to have it.

Established by the Indiana General Assembly in 2010, the registry lists the names of Indiana drivers who have been convicted of operating a vehicle without insurance, according to a BMV spokesman. Then at unspecified times, the BMV contacts randomly selected people from the registry and asks that they provide proof of auto coverage. Individuals who cannot show proof of insurance are convicted again.

The ACLU contends that the “Previously Uninsured Motorist Registry” unlawfully suspended the driver’s licenses of people who had not violated any laws. Even thought the BMV never issued the rules regarding enforcement, the agency began to suspend driver’s licenses of randomly selected individuals.

In June, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of those randomly selected people, charging the BMV’s actions violated state law and due process as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. The case, Lourrinne M. White, et al. v Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, 49D02-1206-PL-241716, was filed in Marion Superior Court.

Marion County Judge Theodore Sosin subsequently granted a preliminary injunction in August.

“I am hopeful that the BMV will go back to the General Assembly in 2013 to change this law so that Hoosiers are not again subject to unlawful and unconstitutional suspensions of their driving privileges,” Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director, stated in a press release.

The BMV has been trying to clarify and detail the implementation of the registry law as circumstances and issues not contemplated by the Legislature have arisen, said a BMV spokesman. Internal discussions regarding the regulations have included possibly turning to the General Assembly for a solution.




 

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  • whatever
    how about the people suspended PAY $100 a day to the BMV. It is a law to have insurance.
  • Civil Suit
    Everyone that was suspended should now sue for $100.00 a day for every day of suspension and the court should fin in favor of all then triple the damages!

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    1. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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