The program that has been administered by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles since 1998 to randomly check to ensure that Ohioans are complying with the state’s financial responsibility laws has been eliminated.
In a somewhat expected move, language to eliminate the program was inserted by the Senate Transportation Committee to the state transportation budget to eliminate the verification program. This program has been a target for elimination by some legislators for years as it has become increasingly ineffective at catching uninsured drivers, and thus is viewed by some as burdening responsible drivers who comply with the law. The program screens approximately 280,000 drivers per year via mail and approximately 4 percent of the letters sent each year catch uninsured motorists (this equates to 11,200 people per year). It costs $550,000 per year or roughly $46,000 per month.
OIA is the only organization that weighed in on the elimination of this program. In our testimony, we emphasized that the last Financial Responsibility Study Committee Report issued in 2014 recommended REPLACING the BMV’s random selection program – not simply eliminating it. Furthermore, we made clear that we do have concerns about not replacing this program with a more robust auto insurance verification system that capitalizes on the technological advances that have become available in the last several years. To date, an effort to do so has yet to get underway, yet more than half of the states have passed laws and begun to develop and implement online auto insurance verification systems to identify uninsured motorists. Read OIA’s testimony.
When Does the Program End?
The language initially added to the transportation budget bill sought to end the program at the beginning of 2020, however, this language was further modified to eliminate the program on the effective date of the transportation budget bill which is July 1st.
What Checks Remain?
With the elimination of this program, the checks that remain for financial responsibility include traffic stops and individuals affirming that they have proper financial responsibility when they apply for a permit/license or they register a vehicle.
Questions or comments?
Contact Carolyn Mangas, OIA’s Government Affairs Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.