NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Thousands of New Mexicans are driving around with suspended or revoked licenses, but one lawmaker wants to make sure that if they do get their licenses back they have car insurance.
Republican Representative Alan Martinez (R-Sandoval) believes too many people show proof of insurance to get their license back, and then cancel the insurance. He says the problem is particularly bad with convicted drunk drivers.
“We see too many times in the news people with repeat DWIs hitting somebody; there’s no recourse for the victim because the vehicle’s not insured. And this is an issue that this legislature needs to take a hard look at and try come up with solutions,” Martinez says.
House Bill 443 would require drivers who have had their licenses suspended or revoked in the last three years to get a special certificate from the insurance company when they try to get it back. It would also require that drivers have a monthly report sent to the state saying they are still insured in order to keep their licenses.
The bill was discussed in the House Transportation Committee a couple of weeks ago. “This would be the alternative to the current process where the person can walk in to get reinstated, show the physical card, and then leave. The problem with that and why the SR 22 certificate has been utilized in other states is that the person can walk away from after they’ve gotten their license reinstated stop paying on the policy and then they don’t really have insurance,” an expert witness for the bill said.
Lawmakers asked for clarification on some of the details. On Tuesday, Mar. 7, they heard an ironed-out new version, but they tabled it without discussion. The chair of the committee told Martinez to bring it back again next year.
A legislative analysis of this bill says New Mexico has the fourth highest rate of uninsured drivers in the nation at nearly 22%. This adds nearly $80 a year to everyone else’s insurance premiums.