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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Ind. Decisions - "Indiana BMV reinstates 4,000 drivers in proof-of-insurance case"

Updating yesterday's ILB entry, Kristine Guerra reports today in the Indianapolis Star in a long story that begins:

For eight long months, King McGraw did not have a driver’s license.

The BMV suspended the 27-year-old Indianapolis man’s license because he did not have proof of insurance. But McGraw was baffled. He didn’t need insurance, he said, because he has never owned a car.

“You’re not going to be paying insurance for a vehicle you don’t own,” McGraw said. “That’s just crazy.”

On Monday, McGraw and thousands of other Hoosiers got their driving rights back after the Bureau of Motor Vehicles agreed to stop using a state-mandated database to suspend the licenses of drivers without insurance.

The action came as the result of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, but the matter remains unsettled.

The BMV agreed to a stay in the lawsuit and may seek changes to the 2010 law that created the Previously Uninsured Motorist Registry.

The statewide database tracks down drivers who have had their licenses suspended at least once for driving without auto insurance. The law authorizes the BMV to randomly select people from the database and check if they had gained insurance. Not being able to show proof of insurance results in the suspension of their licenses.

But, according to the ACLU, the BMV should not demand proof of insurance from people who were not required to have insurance in the first place. It is against state law to drive without auto insurance, but providing proof of insurance is not required to obtain a driver’s license.

“If you’re not required to have insurance” to get a driver’s license, ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk said, “you shouldn’t get your license suspended for not having insurance.”

In a lawsuit filed in June on behalf of Lourrinne White, another Indianapolis resident who lost her license, the ACLU alleges that the BMV did not issue rules to enforce the statute and that the agency violated state law and due process rights guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

ILB: Note that this is a separate case from the one referenced in this July 20, 2012 ILB entry.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 6, 2012 09:00 AM
Posted to Ind. Trial Ct. Decisions