Police must impound vehicles of uninsured drivers under new law

ST. GEORGE– A new law to kick off the New Year is sending a strong message that Utah does not tolerate uninsured motorists on its roadways. Effective Jan. 1, Senate Bill 72 passed during the 2014 General Session of the Legislature, titled “Uninsured Motorist Provisions,” requires police to impound cars on the spot when they encounter uninsured drivers on Utah roads.

In the past, law enforcement officers had the option to impound the vehicles of those driving without car insurance. However, the new law, sponsored by Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, now requires the uninsured vehicle to be impounded unless there’s a safety concern. For instance, in a situation where the driver is a mother with her small children in the car, the law gives officers discretion to not impound the vehicle.

Before impound, officers are required to check the person against a state database of uninsured drivers. If the driver insists they have insurance, the officer must make “a reasonable attempt” to verify if the person is covered, such as calling the insurance agency.

The law also requires Utah pay back drivers whose cars are wrongfully impounded, which legislative staff estimate will cost about $13,000 a year – covering about 25 wrongfully impounded cars. The driver must apply for the reimbursement within six months from the date the vehicle was impounded.

“I think it sends a message out that we have a serious problem whenever anybody drives a car that’s uninsured and hits someone,” Hillyard said. “Those people have no recourse because there is no insurance available.”

However, Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, opposed the bill because he said he is worried about the accuracy of the uninsured driver database, stating he has heard complaints from individuals saying they were pulled over because the database incorrectly showed they were uninsured.

“These people, they had the proof,” Ray said. “They were still cited. They still had to go to court.”

Ray added that there are a lot of “ifs” and that he’s not sure it’s the role of government to say: “We’re going to take your car and impound it if your insurance isn’t paid on it.”

Rep. Jack R. Draxler, the House sponsor of the bill, said simply issuing tickets is not sufficient to change behavior.

“The need for this legislation boils down to a couple things,” Draxler said during a House Floor debate in March 2014. “The most important is that we have learned that over 70 percent of the people driving with expired insurance or no insurance are also subject to outstanding warrants, falsified identification or expired driver’s licenses as well as their insurance.”

“I want to stress that this is not people who are one day expired,” Draxler added. “This is people who are over three months expired.”

SB 72 in its final version passed the Senate on March 10, 2014, 25-0, with four senators absent or not voting. On March 12, 2014, the bill passed the House 38-31 with six representatives not voting.

The bill was then signed by the Governor on April 1, 2014.

Utah has the fourth-lowest rate of uninsured drivers in the country, according to the Insurance Research Council. Notwithstanding the relatively low rate, Hillyard said the new law is “a worthwhile price for the greater good” of making sure uninsured drivers don’t cause a financial burden to others if they get in an accident.

Ed. note: From Southern Utah, Sens. Steve Urquhart, Evan Vickers and Ralph Ockerlund voted for the bill; Sen. David Hinkins was either absent or did not vote. Reps. Don Ipson, V. Lowry Snow, John Westwood voted for the bill; Reps. Michael Noel, Brad Last voted against the bill; Rep. Jon Stanard was absent or did not vote.

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67 Comments

  • ladybugavenger January 12, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    The easiest thing to do is get insurance. If you don’t have insurance, don’t drive- keep it simple.

    • mtnman155 January 12, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      There are many driver’s out on the roads who are uninsured I agree, but I think a 5 to10 day warning or perhaps a small ticket be given on an initial stop, some folks may be out of work or had extenuating circumstances, this would give the driver a fair opportunity to procure or renew their policy .. not everyone out there is dodging having insurance .. immediate impounding sounds too harsh, especially with the elevated fees that get charged by impound yards. If a driver has consistent violations including offenses like DUI’s, then impound the vehicle.

      • ladybugavenger January 13, 2015 at 11:38 am

        If they don’t have insurance, walk orake the bus to work. Driving is a priveledge,not a right. You either have insurance or you don’t drive. You either have a valid license, or you don’t drive. If you drink, don’t drive. If your registration is expired, don’t drive. So many people seem to feel so entitled to drive without insurance, license, or registration. Driving is not an entitlement.

  • BillyBobsAutoCoverage January 12, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Sounds good to me. oh and it’s about time.. now let’s get them people. off the road

  • My Evil Twin January 12, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    They are making it easier and easier for law to impound vehicles under questionable circumstances. While I agree with laws requiring that insurance be carried on all vehicles driven on public roadways, I do not agree with allowing what amounts to a “deprivation of private property without a court order.
    This is a totally unneeded law, as there was already a provision for law to tow and store the vehicle if the individual officer deemed it appropriate. Now, they are making the officer either prove that the individual actually has the proper insurance, or store the vehicle.
    Innocent until proven guilty? Not in this country anymore.

    • ladybugavenger January 12, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      I definitely know where you are coming from. I did get pulled over here because, well the cop.said, because the database shows I don’t have insurance. Which I did. The cop said he could call and verify but instead let me go. Now, the verification better be done thoroughly before an impound. But there are so many people without insurance that this is needed. No talking your way out of it. Its not fair to us who pay high insurance rates because people drive without insurance. Driving is a priveledge, not a right.

    • Evil Twins Mommy January 12, 2015 at 4:22 pm

      Well the law is here and you just stop your whining and deal with it no insurance no drive.! GOOD

      • Old Prospector January 12, 2015 at 5:10 pm

        Hey mommy, I’m back in town now. Why don’t you crawl back into your coffin!

        • My Evil Twin January 12, 2015 at 5:12 pm

          Hey! who has been using my computer while I was in Michigan???

        • Evil Twins Mommy January 12, 2015 at 6:22 pm

          Come sit on mommies lap and tell me allllllll about it

        • Evil Twins Mommy January 12, 2015 at 6:28 pm

          I’m still in town so why don’t you just go back and crawl into your baby carriage I left your pacifier in there for you… my little snuggy wuggys

        • Evil Twins Mommy January 12, 2015 at 8:24 pm

          OLD PROSPECTOR. AKA… My Evil Twin. LOL

          • My Evil Twin January 13, 2015 at 9:38 am

            Believe what you will, nobody cares.

  • 375ultra January 12, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    This maybe a good idea, but I see a possibility of car chases and shootouts with somebody backed into a corner financially.

  • me January 12, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    For anyone who has experienced the harm caused by an uninsured driver, this is welcomed law.

    • Evil Twins Mommy January 12, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      Me. You got that right.! get them tow trucks ready

    • Ed January 17, 2015 at 10:34 am

      How can an uninsured driver cause harm to someone who is insured?

      • ladybugavenger January 19, 2015 at 11:02 pm

        Because, a person like me doesn’t have uninsured motorist coverage, therefore the damage to my car comes out of my pocket and I’m broke

  • terry williams January 12, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    This law is unconstitutional and therefore anyone who gets thier car impounded for insurance should file a civil suit in federal court against Utah. This is because under the 5th amendment the government cannot take your property without due process of law or just compensation. An Article 1 Section 9 paragraph 4 prohibits bills of attainder. In otherwords, if a driver doesn’t have insurance the state must go to court to conviscate the vehicle.

    • ladybugavenger January 12, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      Driving is a priveledge, not a right

    • ladybugavenger January 12, 2015 at 5:00 pm

      Sue if its unjust- ok…sounds resonable. but, how about people driving without insurance, Instead of filing a lawsuit, how about getting insurance….keep it simple….if you don’t have insurance, don’t drive.

      • ladybugavenger January 12, 2015 at 5:07 pm

        If I get hit by a person driving a vehicle without insurance- I’m gonna be pissed and I don’t really care about that persons constitutional rights. What about me? I have to pay for him being an idiot- keep it simple- if you don’t have insurance, don’t drive.

        • ladybugavenger January 13, 2015 at 6:37 pm

          I can’t afford uninsured motorist coverage…get your own dang insurance. I can’t afford to pay for my insurance and someone else for not having insurance. So I’m screwed if someone hits me and they don’t have insurance.

          • Ed January 17, 2015 at 10:36 am

            If you can’t afford to insure yourself then don’t drive.

          • ladybugavenger January 19, 2015 at 11:04 pm

            I have liability insurance so it will cover damage i cause to your car and that’s what I’m saying, if a person doesn’t have insurance don’t drive!!!

    • Evil Twins Mommy January 12, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      Good luck with that because they are still going to tow your car if you have no insurance stay off the road and take the bus

    • that guy January 12, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      your a retard

      • Evil Twins Mommy January 13, 2015 at 1:05 am

        Your a retard duh uh uh uh duh duh uh duhhhhhn

      • Evil Twins Mommy January 13, 2015 at 1:16 am

        You better get some rest because after a putting together a thought you must be exhausted

      • Evil Twins Mommy January 13, 2015 at 8:25 am

        Uh yup yup yup yup uh yup yup duh yup LOL I love it give me more.!!

    • My Evil Twin January 13, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      Terry, there is a bug difference between impound and confiscation. When they impound your car for an offense such as no insurance, registration, or some such, it means they tow and store it. But the owner can get it back. Of course you have to pay towing and storage, plus whatever ticket you get.
      However confiscation is what they do when they seize some kind of property and you have no hope of getting it back. When these laws were first put in, they had to have a court order to permanently deprive a property owner of his property. I don’t think it works that way any more though.
      Whatever it is, I don’t like the idea of law taking property without due process.

  • Doug Bringhurst January 12, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Utah tax payers should not have to pay it back. The insurance company that fails to report the insurance status need to pay them back, or the private party insure rite company. Come on you elected officials get it right or your out of office.

  • S Steed January 12, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Both the US and Utah constitution says that no law shall be passed imposing the obligation of contracts. Forcing people to buy insurance is nothing more than racketeering. Look at the new face of piracy. All the people on that list are ravaging the morons in this state who love to just bend over and take it. “But its for your safety” you say. Then give back the money to those who don’t file insurance claims; instead of blowing millions on stupid fricking commercials. God people are ignorant sometimes.

    • ladybugavenger January 12, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      Just don’t drive…then you don’t have to worry about it. Driving is a priveledge, not a right.

      • S Steed January 13, 2015 at 5:11 pm

        Driving is by definition: One employed in conducting a coach, carriage, wagon, or other vehicle, ect; so I guess you could make that argument. Traveling on the other hand is a god given right and weather I choose to do it in a car or not is my choice. Its people like you that are dumb enough to allow fear to force you into the same trap that has been used a thousand times. Problem, reaction, solution. You take a risk whenever you travel, insurance wont change that. If insurance wasn’t compulsory: rates would be much more competitive and people might actually pay attention if they have to be accountable for crashing their car. People should insure themselves if they want to.

        • ladybugavenger January 13, 2015 at 8:17 pm

          Well, i must be old, in my drivers ed class i was taught driving is a privelidge. That privelidge can be taken away. My fear is if i get hit by an uninsured vehicle, im screwed. I wont be able to get my car fixed…So If you drive without insurance just don’t hit me please. I can’t afford uninsured motorist insurance and I’ll be screwed…I am the lower class with dreams of being middle class and being able to afford uninsured motorist insurance. I can’t even afford to fix my own car, but I have insurance to cover damage to another vehicle, if I cause it. If you dont have insurance just don’t hit me please. I can’t afford it.

          • Ed January 17, 2015 at 10:39 am

            Don’t be a parasite. Insure yourself.

          • ladybugavenger January 19, 2015 at 11:06 pm

            I have insurance ed. I don’t have uninsured motorist insurance and if people would drive with liability insurance all would be well

  • lp January 12, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    I got pulled over a couple of months ago because the database said I had no insurance when I actually did have it. I just showed him my insurance card and he let me go with no problem. But a few months before that when I had to renew my registration they said it had been revoked for because of a lapse in insurance which was not the case either. I had to have my insurance company fax over paperwork showing that I did have insurance the whole time..The point being that the system has some major errors in it and it had nothing to do with me being uninsured. I did my part. It was wrong in their end.

  • Nano January 12, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    I was hit by an uninsured person last summer in S.G. I had to pay the $500.00 deductible before the body shop would repair my car. I’ve not gotten the $500.00 back (was supposed to as the accident was “no fault” on my part ). The insurance company said they are trying to work out a payment plan with the other driver, and I will get my money back when they get it!!! I asked the agent then why am I paying premiums to protect me from uninsured drivers?????? I may have to seek other remedies.

  • Don Birkholz January 12, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    I would rather drive with 100 good drivers with no insurance than 100 3 time DUIs with insurance. A single mom making 6,000$ with three teens can pay 8,000$ for insurance. If you waterboard or taze that mom, she still will not come up with the money. Jesus said “Blessed are the poor” Mandatory auto insurance says “To hell with the poor”. Don’t you people go to church?? Bet you don’t keep track of more on food stamps and more landlords not getting their rent. If you want your car to be safe out there, buy collision insurance. That is a foolproof method for a safe car and works. Mandatory auto insurance does not work and will result in more stolen cars, more stolen plates, more ficticious plates, more hit and runs, more on food stamps (I collected 4,000$ due to mandatory auto insurance), more landlords not getting their rent, more need for food bank food, and more blacks and poor hating the police. It is called GREED!!!!

    • My Evil Twin January 13, 2015 at 9:40 am

      Then maybe those three teens need to get part time work to pay for their own insurance. If you can’t afford insurance, then you can’t afford to make car payments.

      • Koolaid January 13, 2015 at 10:00 am

        Maybe the community can have a fundraiser to help pay for those kids? Maybe find some socialist government welfare program to pay for them. Funny how people who hate the government are first ones in line to milk that government cash cow.

      • Evil Twins Mommy January 13, 2015 at 1:38 pm

        Believe what you want nobody cares

    • ladybugavenger January 13, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      Isn’t insurance already mandatory?

  • Don Birkholz January 13, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Don’t think Jesus would favor a law that would make it harder for poor people( who are excellent drivers ) to get to their jobs. Jesus wouldn’t favor confisticating cars of poor people who are good drivers, because they cannot come up with 8,000$ for their families insurance. Jesus wouldn’t favor throwing poor people in jail, who are excellent drivers because they cannot come up with 8,000$ for auto insurance.

    There is a growing problem in this country and it is called insurance drunks. Insurance drunks think it is horrible if an excellent driver, who is poor, is driving to get to his job. I think we need a law that requires insurance drunks to attend and pay for a rehabilitation school. Insurance drunks think it is o.k. to seize a vehicle, when there is no evidence the driver is an unsafe driver.

    If Kool Aid and My evil twin were the head of a household, making 6,000$, with three teens and an insurance bill of 8,000$, they would not be buying auto insurance either. Why not treat others like you would be treated?, And if you go to church, maybe you should stop going if you are going to ignore what Jesus says.

    • Richard C January 13, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      You come up with some of the most bizarre bunk of anyone on here! You say “good drivers”, well “good drivers” don’t pay 8k a year. We have a 2013 SUV and a 2005 care and we pay only 51 a month for full coverage on SUV and liability on the older car. 612 a year! Liability is only 21 a month. Your excessive drivel always seem to lack facts and just high strung bunk. You never let a fact get in the way of your spewing! SMH

    • My Evil Twin January 13, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      Thanks so much for your opinion of what a person you never met would, or would not do. If you aren’t making enough money, either cut back on your spending ie get rid of your car, give up booze and tobacco and gambling, or get off your fat welfare butt and find a job.
      IDIOT!

  • BunnyRabbit2015 January 13, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    This “evil twin’s mommy” loser isn’t cleaver, witty, funny, or even entertaining… Why allow such things to be posted on the site?

    • Evil Twins Mommy January 13, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Because it irritates idiots like you

  • sagemoon January 13, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    What a ridiculous law. It’s just another way to make the poor poorer. Maybe this law should only apply in areas where UTA is available.

    • ladybugavenger January 13, 2015 at 7:29 pm

      I am the poor. I cant afford uninsured motorist coverage. If I get hit by someone without insurance, I’m screwed and I’m gonna need a #fundraiser

      • ladybugavenger January 13, 2015 at 7:31 pm

        I’m not as poor as I use to be, I at least have insurance now…so I think I reached the level of lower class

        • ladybugavenger January 13, 2015 at 7:31 pm

          When I can afford uninsured motorist coverage, will that make me middle class?

          • sagemoon January 14, 2015 at 9:08 am

            Darn tootin’!

  • ladybugavenger January 13, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    When I drove without insurance and registration i had all kinds of excuses too. Bottom line I was wrong, I paid the the tickets, (eventually). I didnt accomplish anything by driving without a license, registration, or insurance. But as I got older and wiser, I learned if you don’t have a valid license, registration, or insurance- don’t drive. That’s the message: no insurance, registration, no license- don’t drive! If your poor, the tickets will make you poorer.

    • S Steed January 13, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      Just give the bullies your lunch money and you wont get beat as much. No point in standing up for yourself or what’s right; that would require you to actually do something. If you let others decide what’s right and wrong for you; you are a slave to them.

      • Don Birkholz January 13, 2015 at 8:44 pm

        I didn’t hate cops until mandatory auto insurance came around. Here we have cars being towed for no insurance and it is legal to drive without insurance in New Hampshire, Virginia and I think South Carolina (can pay 500$ to drive without insurance.). Much of the insurance industry is opposed to mandatory auto insurance, but insurance drunks here seem to be smarter than the insurance people. When the proponents have no solution, they mutter unrealistic stuff like “its a privilege, not a right, take a bus, walk, etc, put your teens to work.”

        • Richard C January 13, 2015 at 9:01 pm

          What a very inane rant! Driving is a privilege. Hate to burst your bubble but all states do not require car insurance, but all require financial responsibility to operate a vehicle on the roadway. Lastly hating cops for doing their job shows just what a tool you are.

          • Ed January 17, 2015 at 10:31 am

            Driving or operating a vehicle on the roadway. Which is the privilege?

      • ladybugavenger January 13, 2015 at 10:03 pm

        No, I fight bullies. What is more productive 1. having insurance and not getting towed and ticketed or 2. Not having insurance getting towed and fighting it. Um you can pick #2. I’ll be #1. If I hit your car and I don’t have insurance, well, guess what? I don’t have money to pay for your car repairs and you can sue me but all you’ll get is a judgment and I’ll owe you money that I don’t have.

        • ladybugavenger January 13, 2015 at 10:10 pm

          All I’m saying is, I think you would appreciate it if I’m gonna hit you, its best for you that I have insurance.

  • ladybugavenger January 15, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Is this whole mandatory tow thing socialism, communism, or capitalism?….either way, did someone put a curse on me for my car to break down and have to be towed so I have to find an alternative way to get to work? Oprah! Dr Phil!

  • Ed January 17, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Police don’t “impound”. Towing companies do.
    Since it’s okay to force people to buy something that they don’t want we can expect walmart to start dragging people in to their stores by gunpoint.

  • Reverend Draco January 17, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Right – because people working a part-time, minimum-wage job can more easily afford to buy a new car to replace the impounded one (so they don’t lose their job) than they could afford insurance to begin with. . .

    Oh well. . . I suppose that when they lose their job, they can get on Welfare and Food Stamps. . . become properly dependent on government. . .

  • Don Birkholz January 20, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Why do you mandatory auto insurance proponents have to resort to sneaky, underhanded methods to get these laws passed? In Wisconsin, the legislature said “no” to mandatory auto insurance. So the proponents placed the requirement in the budget bill. In Nebraska, the proponents tried for 22 years to get mandatory auto insurance thru the correct Banking and Insurance Committee. After failing for 22 years in a row, the proponents took the bill to the Public Works Committee and got it passed. These types of shenanigans lend disrespect for these laws. State Farm and 751 other insurance companies say these laws are bad laws and should be done away with. I think they know right from wrong. But some people on these answers seem to think they are smarter than the insurance companies. Who are you trying to fool?

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