Title 32. Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation

Chapter 5. Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Law

Part I-a. Compulsory Motor Vehicle Liability Security

 

32:863.1     Evidence of compulsory motor vehicle liability security contained in vehicle; enforcement; penalty; fees

 

A. No owner or lessee of a self-propelled motor vehicle registered in this state, except a motor vehicle used primarily for exhibit or kept primarily for use in parades, exhibits, or shows, or agricultural or forest use vehicles during seasons when they are not used on the highways, shall operate or allow the operation of such vehicle upon any public road, street, or highway in this state unless there is contained within the vehicle one of the following documents evidencing that the motor vehicle is in compliance with R.S. 32:861 relative to compulsory motor vehicle liability security:

 

(1) A certificate of insurance. “Certificate” means the written evidence of motor vehicle liability insurance as defined in R.S. 32:900 that is in the form of one of the following:

 

(a) An insurance identification card, a photocopy of the card, or an image of the card displayed on a mobile electronic device, issued by an insurer to its insured which shall contain the following information:

 

(i) The name and address of the insurance company.

 

(ii) The insurance policy number.

 

(iii) A description of the motor vehicle insured under the policy.

 

(iv) The effective date and the expiration date of the policy.

 

(v) The name of any person who is excluded from coverage as authorized by R.S. 32:900(L).

 

(b) A motor vehicle liability insurance policy or a duplicate original thereof.

 

(c) A motor vehicle liability insurance policy binder or a duplicate original thereof.

 

(2) A duplicate original of a motor vehicle liability bond which complies with the requirements for a motor vehicle liability bond set forth in R.S. 32:861(B).

 

(3) A certificate of the state treasurer stating that cash or securities have been deposited with said treasurer as provided for under the provisions of R.S. 32:861(C).

 

(4) A certificate of self-insurance issued by the secretary under the provisions of R.S. 32:1042 qualifying the owner of the vehicle as a self-insurer.

 

B. (1) When a law enforcement officer stops a vehicle at an administrative violations checkpoint, or in connection with an alleged violation of the law, or for any other reason, or when a law enforcement officer investigates an accident, the law enforcement officer shall determine if the owner or lessee of each vehicle is in compliance with the provisions of this Section which require evidence of liability insurance or other security to be contained in the vehicle.

 

(2) When a law enforcement officer makes a compliance determination as required by Paragraph (1) of this Subsection, the officer shall also determine if the owner or lessee of each vehicle is compliant with the requirements of R.S. 32:861 by electronically verifying, as applicable by means within his capacity, that the documents evidencing compliance are current.

 

(3) If the owner or lessee is not in compliance with the provisions of this Part, the law enforcement officer shall take the actions specified in this Section.

 

C. (1)(a) If the operator of a motor vehicle is unable to show compliance with the provisions of this Part by displaying the required document when requested to do so, the motor vehicle shall be impounded and the operator shall be issued a notice of noncompliance with the provisions of this Part on a form to be provided by the department. Notwithstanding the provisions of R.S. 32:852(E), such notice may be sent by first class mail. A copy of the notice of noncompliance shall be provided to the towing or storage company and a copy shall be forwarded to the office of motor vehicles within three calendar days after the notice of noncompliance was served. The notice of noncompliance shall serve as notice of administrative hearings rights. In addition, the law enforcement officer shall remove the license plate from the vehicle if the vehicle is registered in Louisiana. The law enforcement officer shall deliver the vehicle license plate to the chief of the agency which employs the officer, or to a person in that agency designated to receive such license plates. In those cases in which a motor vehicle is not impounded, a copy of the notice of noncompliance shall be attached to the vehicle license plate and both shall be delivered to the nearest office of motor vehicles within three calendar days after the notice of noncompliance was served.

 

(b) The owner of the vehicle shall have three calendar days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, from the date that the notice of noncompliance was issued to present to the office of motor vehicles proof of insurance coverage or security in effect at the time of the issuance of the notice of noncompliance. If the vehicle was properly insured at the time the notice was issued, any valid license plate shall be returned within forty-eight hours, exclusive of legal holidays, to the owner of the vehicle at no cost to the owner. However, if, within sixty days from the date the notice of noncompliance is issued, the owner fails to provide proof of the fact that the vehicle was properly insured at the time the notice of noncompliance was issued, the chief administrative officer of the office of motor vehicles shall destroy, or shall cause to be destroyed, the license plate removed from that owner’s vehicle and shall notify the secretary that the owner of the vehicle is not in compliance with the compulsory liability law. Upon receipt of such notification, the secretary shall revoke the registration of such vehicle. Sixty days after the date of issuance of the notice of noncompliance, the fees imposed in this Section shall be owed even if the owner subsequently provides proof the motor vehicle was insured, and all such fees shall be considered final delinquent debt.

 

(c) For a first offense there shall be a reinstatement fee of one hundred dollars, for a second offense there shall be a reinstatement fee of two hundred fifty dollars, and for any subsequent offense there shall be a reinstatement fee of five hundred dollars. The reinstatement fee contained herein shall be in addition to other appropriate registration fees allowed by law and reinstatement shall depend upon proof of compliance with the compulsory liability law.

 

(2) In those cases in which the motor vehicle is not impounded, any law enforcement officer who removes and takes a license plate pursuant to the provisions of this Section shall issue for attachment to the rear end of the vehicle, a temporary sticker denoting its use in lieu of an official license plate. The sticker shall bear the date upon which it was issued in written or stamped numerals or letters not less than three inches in height. This temporary sticker shall only be effective for a period of three calendar days beginning from the day on which the license plate is taken.

 

(3) The temporary stickers required by Paragraph (2) of this Subsection shall be designed and produced by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, and the department shall supply such stickers, at no cost, to all law enforcement agencies authorized by law to enforce traffic laws.

 

(4) The Department of Public Safety and Corrections shall formulate and promulgate rules and regulations for the implementation of the provisions of this Section. To this end, no license shall be taken or destroyed pursuant to the authority granted in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection until such rules are properly promulgated in accordance with law. However, this limitation shall not be construed so as to otherwise limit the enforcement of laws relative to operating a vehicle without proper insurance or security.

 

(5)(a) The administrative hearing shall be limited to a review of the issue of whether the vehicle was covered by a valid policy of insurance at the time of the alleged violation. The records of the department on the particular violation shall be prima facie proof of the violation, and the owner or operator shall have the burden of proving that the vehicle was covered by a valid policy of insurance or was self-insured pursuant to this Chapter at the time of the violation. The owner or operator may subpoena any witness to appear at the hearing, including the officer issuing the violation, to establish that the owner or operator was in compliance with the law at the time of the alleged violation. A request for a hearing shall not stay the sanctions required by this Part. If it is determined at the administrative hearing that the vehicle was covered by a valid policy of insurance or was self-insured pursuant to this Chapter at the time of the violation, but that such proof was not presented to the law enforcement officer at the time the vehicle was impounded, then the vehicle owner shall be required to pay the storage and wrecker fees of the person or company who impounded and towed the subject vehicle.

 

(b) The department or other agency that conducts the hearings shall promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary to implement the requirements of this Section. Any action for judicial review of the decision from the administrative hearing shall be in the same manner and under the same conditions as provided in R.S. 32:414. No court shall issue an injunction, stay or other process preventing the enforcement of the sanctions required by this Part pending the hearing provided for in this Part, except as provided by R.S. 49:964.

 

(6) The impounded vehicle shall remain impounded and the registration shall remain suspended until such time as proof of valid insurance is given to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, in no event shall a car be released from impoundment until such time as proof, in writing, has been presented from the Department of Public Safety and Corrections that all penalties, fees, fines and requirements of this Section have been met.

 

(7) In those instances when there is a passenger in the motor vehicle under the age of twelve or when the driver or a passenger in the motor vehicle has a disability or when considering the location and the time of day of the stop, the law enforcement officer perceives that there would be a threat to the public safety or to the occupants in the motor vehicle, such law enforcement officer enforcing the provision of this Section may in lieu of the impoundment provisions of this Section, seize the license plate and issue a temporary sticker valid for three calendar days. Upon expiration of the sticker, the vehicle shall not be driven until the owner has complied with the requirements of this Section. In the event the vehicle is being driven after the expiration of the temporary sticker provided for herein, the vehicle shall be immediately impounded pursuant to the provisions of this Section.

 

D. Prior to reinstatement of registration and license plate privileges to any individual who cannot prove the required insurance coverage or security in effect at the time of the offense within three calendar days after the offense, the Department of Public Safety and Corrections shall collect a reinstatement fee of ten dollars to offset the costs of administering this Section. This ten-dollar fee shall be in addition to any other fines, fees, or penalties owed prior to reinstatement of privileges.

 

E. The legislature hereby declares that the presence of a current license plate on a motor vehicle has become one indication that the motor vehicle is covered by liability security. The legislature further declares that the provisions of R.S. 47:505(B) which require owners of motor vehicles to surrender the license plates of motor vehicles when the lawful use of the motor vehicle by the owner has terminated has become an integral part of the enforcement of the laws requiring all motor vehicles to be covered by liability security. In order to inform the public of the requirements of R.S. 47:505(B) and to facilitate the enforcement of the laws requiring motor vehicle liability security, the office of motor vehicles shall provide notice of the requirements of R.S. 47:505(B) to each person to whom a motor vehicle registration is delivered or transmitted.

 

F. In the case where the driver is a minor child, the owner of the vehicle shall be responsible under this Section. If the owner of the vehicle is the minor child, the parents of the minor child shall be jointly subject to the provisions of this Section along with the minor child, unless the minor has been adjudicated emancipated, or is in the sole custody of another or only one parent under the law. If the minor is in the sole custody of another or only one parent under the law, the person or parent in whose sole custody the child has been placed will be jointly responsible with the minor child under this Section.

 

G. The only acceptable means of proof of a valid and current policy of insurance shall be one of the following:

 

(1) The insurance identification card, a photocopy of the card, or an image of the card that is displayed on a mobile electronic device, declaration page, or policy issued by the insurer.

 

(2) In the case of a self-insured vehicle as provided in R.S. 32:851 et seq., the certificate of self-insurance issued by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

 

(3) The records of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, if such records reflect that the motor vehicle is covered by a valid and current policy of liability insurance.

 

(4) The law enforcement officer making the stop has a reasonable belief that the motor vehicle is covered by a valid and current policy of liability insurance.

 

H. Repealed by Acts 1999, No. 330, § 1.

 

I. (1) Every owner or lessee of a self-propelled motor vehicle registered in another state which is involved in a traffic accident or collision in Louisiana shall provide one of the documents comparable to those listed in Subsection A evidencing that the motor vehicle is covered by a valid policy of automobile insurance. If the operator of the motor vehicle is unable to show such proof, a notice of noncompliance shall be issued.

 

(2) If the operator of the motor vehicle is issued a notice of noncompliance, the owner of the vehicle shall have thirty working days from the date that the notice of noncompliance was issued to present to the office of motor vehicles proof that insurance coverage was in effect at the time of the issuance of the notice of noncompliance or proof that insurance coverage was not required by the state in which the vehicle was registered.

 

(3) If the owner fails to provide the proof required in Paragraph (2) of this Subsection, there shall be a fine of one hundred dollars for a first offense, a fine of two hundred fifty dollars for a second offense, and a fine of five hundred dollars for any subsequent offense.

 

Added by Acts 1984, No. 212, § 1, eff. July 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1987, No. 616, § 1, eff. July 9, 1987; Acts 1992, No. 805, § 1; Acts 1993, No. 100, § 1, eff. May 26, 1993; Acts 1993, No. 259, § 1; Acts 1994, 3rd Ex.Sess., No. 119, § 1, eff. July 7, 1994; Acts 1995, No. 209, § 1; Acts 1995, No. 423, § 1; Acts 1995, No. 759, § 1; Acts 1997, No. 835, § 1, eff. July 10, 1997; Acts 1997, No. 1486, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 1999, No. 1347, § 1; Acts 2001, No. 916, § 1; Acts 2012, No. 824, § 1; Acts 2014, No. 641, § 1, eff. July 1, 2014; Acts 2014, No. 649, § 1, eff. July 1, 2014; Acts 2014, No. 811, § 16, eff. June 23, 2014; Acts 2015, No. 414, § 1.