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BMV puts the brakes on enforcing uninsured motorist registry

November 5, 2012

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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