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New car tag renewal law takes effect

Published 10:26am Friday, January 4, 2013

The state law requiring drivers to have valid insurance and proof of coverage is nothing new, but changes in the way car tags are issued are.

With the turn of the year, people getting a car tag renewed in the Probate Office will need to present proof of insurance and a drivers license.

“If you want to avoid a line or having to come back, be sure to bring proof of insurance, your drivers license and the drivers license of anyone else that may own the car with you,” said Probate Judge Jim Perdue.

Perdue said that most insurance carriers will have verification available online.

“This is a new thing, and it will get ironed out and smoothed out as time goes on,” he said. “It may be an inconvenience, but it’s a good thing.  This means that more people will be traveling with insurance because you can’t get a tag until you have proof of insurance.”

The information will also be entered into a statewide system, which means that law enforcement will be able to verify compliance with the law when a motorist is pulled over.

According to information from the Alabama Department of Revenue’s Motor Vehicle Division, the law will be enforced by verification by law enforcement during traffic stops or accidents; verification by county license plate issuing officials prior to registration or renewal; verification by the Department of Revenue by sending requirements to vehicle owners whose registrations have been suspended, who have been convicted of mandatory liability insurance violations or whose driving privileges have been suspended or revoked.

Penalties for violations will be costly with the first violation carrying a fine of up to $500 with subsequent violations fined by $1,000. With a second violation, drivers may also have their license suspended. Additionally, if a vehicle is registered or operated without insurance, the registration will be suspended and the owner will be subject to a $200 reinstatement fee for the first violation and a $400 reinstatement fee for second or subsequent violations as well as a mandatory four-month registration suspension.

Minimum liability coverage for all registered vehicles include no less than $25,000 for death and bodily injury to one person; $50,000 for death and bodily injury to two or more persons; and $25,000 for damage or destruction of property.

For details on the mandatory insurance requirements or for information on documents need to register or renew vehicles in Crenshaw County, contact the probate office at 335-6568 or the Alabama Department of Public Safety Website at www.dps.alabama.gov.

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