Legislators in the state of Montana have proposed an increase in fines for drivers who have been caught without automobile liability insurance more than once. Under the terms of the uninsured motorists bill, HB 243, on a second conviction drivers would face a fine of $500 instead of $350 and on their third (or more) violation, the fine would be either $1,000 or up to six months in the county jail, or both.
The Montana House Appropriations Committee passed the bill, which now goes to the House floor.
Analysts of the bill say that it’s enforcement would require the state to spend about $78,000 more each year in order to monitor the records that show drivers’ commencement and cancellation of insurance coverage, as well as to notify offenders. The Montana Motor Vehicles Department would have to track an additional 2,200 or so second-violation offenders every year, and there would also be about 3,000 new drivers with suspended licenses to monitor. Currently, drivers licenses are only suspended after a fourth conviction.
On the other hand, if the bill is passed and made into law, it is expected that it will generate about $370,000/year in revenue that would go directly to the state’s general fund.