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New Idaho law targeting uninsured drivers effective Jan. 1

Traffic in Boise. A new law means drivers without vehicle insurance could have their registrations suspended after a few months. File photo

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — A new law in Idaho targeting uninsured drivers by suspending their vehicle registrations is expected to take effect Jan. 1, state lawmakers said.

The state Department of Motor Vehicles can now cross-check vehicle identification numbers each month against its database of registered vehicles, The Post Register reports.

“We have a lot of uninsured vehicles on the road, and it’s been a real problem if you’ve ever been hit by an uninsured motorist,” Republican Rep. Rod Furniss said.

Insurance companies already report which vehicles have insurance to the department and police routinely check the list during traffic stops, officials said.

The new law now means drivers who don’t maintain insurance on their vehicles could have their registrations suspended after a few months, transportation officials said.

Uninsured drivers would receive a notice after two months saying they have 30 days to get insurance, officials said. If they do not respond, their vehicle registrations would be revoked, officials said.

It would cost $75 and proof of insurance to reinstate the registrations, but that is still cheaper than the cost of getting stopped while driving and ticketed for driving without insurance, Furniss said.

Idaho Falls police officers last year wrote 609 tickets for failure to provide proof of insurance and 139 tickets for failure to maintain insurance, authorities said.

People who only drive vehicles that are on the road seasonally can fill out and submit non-use forms when they take their vehicles off the road, transportation officials said.

The state reorganized employees to help administer the law but hasn’t hired any new employees, said Vince Trimboli, spokesman for the Idaho Transportation Department.

The department expects about 150,000 vehicle owners to receive initial notices due to lack of insurance in January, representing about 8% of registered vehicles in Idaho, Trimboli said.

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