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171Type of Legislation: General Bill GBIntroducing Body: SenateIntroduced Date: 20010118Primary Sponsor: MooreAll Sponsors: MooreDrafted Document Number: l:\s-res\tlm\001nofe.dmb.docResiding Body: HouseCurrent Committee: Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee 26 HLCIDate of Last Amendment: 20010524Subject: Motor vehicle license plates, fee eliminated for Purple Heart recipients; Veterans' and Military AffairsHistory Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ ______________________________________ _______ ____________ House 20010529 Introduced, read first time, 26 HLCI referred to Committee Senate 20010524 Amended, read third time, sent to House Senate 20010523 Read second time, notice of general amendments ------ 20010523 Scrivener's error corrected Senate 20010522 Polled out of Committee: Favorable 15 ST Senate 20010118 Introduced, read first time, 15 ST referred to Committee Versions of This Bill Revised on May 22, 2001 - Word format Revised on May 23, 2001 - Word format Revised on May 24, 2001 - Word format
Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter
AS PASSED BY THE SENATE
May 24, 2001
S. Printed 5/24/01--S.
Read the first time January 18, 2001.
TO AMEND SECTION 56-3-3310, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO SPECIAL LICENSE PLATES FOR RECIPIENTS OF THE PURPLE HEART, SO AS TO ELIMINATE THE FEE FOR THE LICENSE PLATES.
Amend Title To Conform
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 56-3-3310 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 422 of 1996, is further amended to read:
"Section 56-3-3310. The department
may shall issue a free permanent special motor vehicle license plate to a recipient of the Purple Heart for use on a private passenger motor vehicle. The biennial fee for the special license plate is the same as the fee provided in Article 5, Chapter 3 of this Title, and only Only one plate may shall be issued to a person. The application for a special plate must include proof the applicant is a recipient of the Purple Heart."
SECTION 2. The 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 56-1-315. A violation of Section 56-1-460, driving under suspension, must be dismissed by the Department of Public Safety when:
(1) a person has been charged with driving under suspension while his driver's license is suspended because of an out-of-state motor vehicle violation; and
(2) the person obtains a resolution to the out-of-state motor vehicle violation that is considered satisfactory by the Department of Public Safety."
SECTION 3. Chapter 10, Title 56 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 56-10-610. This article may be cited as the 'Motorist Insurance Database Program Act'.
Section 56-10-620. As used in this article, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) 'Contractor' means designated agent or the party with which the division contracts pursuant to Section 56-10-640.
(2) 'Database' means the motorist insurance database described in Section 56-10-640.
(3) 'Department' means the Department of Public Safety.
(4) 'Designated agent' means contractor or the party with which the division contracts pursuant to Section 56-10-640.
(5) 'Division' means the Division of Motor Vehicles in the Department of Public Safety.
(6) 'Program' means the motorist insurance database program created in Section 56-10-640.
Section 56-10-630. (1) The General Assembly finds that the purpose of this article is to help reduce the uninsured motorist population in this State and to measure the effectiveness of the motorist insurance database established pursuant to this article.
(2) The General Assembly further recognizes that the information and data required to be disclosed by insurers in creating and maintaining the motorist insurance database is proprietary in nature. Accordingly, the parties handling this information and data must at all times maintain its confidential and proprietary nature.
(3) The motorist insurance database program is created for the purpose of establishing a database to use when verifying compliance with the motor vehicle financial security requirements in this chapter.
Section 56-10-640. (A)(1) The motorist insurance database program shall be administered by the division. Pursuant to the South Carolina Consolidated Procurement Code, the division shall contract with a contractor who shall provide a system of transmitting data from insurance companies. The division must solicit and receive at least two bids on the contract before awarding the contract.
(2) After a contract has been entered into with a contractor, the department shall convene a working group chaired by the director of the division or his designee for the purpose of facilitating the implementation of the program, assisting in development of regulations, and coordinating a testing phase, and necessary changes identified in this testing phase, as prescribed by the working group. The working group shall consist of five representatives of the insurance industry appointed by the director of the Department of Insurance, the director of the Department of Insurance, or his designee, the director of the Department of Public Safety, or his designee, the contractor, and a representative of the division.
(B) The contractor shall develop, in a manner prescribed by the department, a system to allow the transmission of data from insurance companies to the division.
(C) The department, with input from the Department of Insurance, shall promulgate regulations for administering and enforcing this article. The regulations shall specify the requirements that are necessary and appropriate for commercial lines of insurance, as defined in Title 38, which shall be developed with input by the Department of Insurance.
Section 56-10-650. (A) If the comparison indicates that a motor vehicle is not insured, the division shall notify the owner of the motor vehicle that he has forty-five days to provide the division with one of the following, or the owner's license plates will be subject to suspension:
(1) proof of complying coverage in accordance with Section 56-10-10 or 56-10-220, or of self-insurance in accordance with Section 56-9-60; or
(2) proof of exemption from the financial security requirements.
(B) A letter from an insurer or agent verifying that the person had the required motor vehicle insurance coverage on the date specified is considered proof of financial responsibility for purposes of this section. This letter may be mailed to the division.
(C) The provisions of this section take effect no later than one hundred eighty days after certification by the department as provided in Section 10.
Section 56-10-660. (A) The division, for a fee as prescribed and promulgated by regulation, shall disclose an individual's reported insurance coverage upon request by the following individuals and agencies only:
(1) the individual;
(2) the parent or legal guardian of an individual who is an unemancipated minor;
(3) the legal guardian of an individual who is legally incapacitated;
(4) any person who has power of attorney from the individual;
(5) any person who submits a notarized release from the individual that is dated no more than ninety days before the date the request is made;
(6) any person suffering loss or injury or against whom a claim is made for loss or injury in a motor vehicle accident in which the individual is involved, but only as part of an accident report authorized in Section 56-9-351;
(7) the office of the state auditor, for the purpose of conducting any audit authorized by law;
(8) any state or local government agency investigating, litigating, or enforcing the person's compliance with the financial security requirements; or
(9) persons regulated under Title 38 of the 1976 Code for the purposes of paying or adjudicating claims, and preventing fraud or abuse.
(B) The funds collected from this fee described by subsection (A) shall be placed by the Comptroller General into a special restricted account to be used by the department to defray expenses of the division.
(C) The State is not liable to any person for gathering, managing, or using information in the database pursuant to this article.
(D) No insurer is liable to any person for performing its duties under this article unless, and to the extent, the insurer commits a wilful and wanton act or omission.
(E) Insurers shall be required to pay only those actual costs attributed to the transmission to or retrieval of their records from the division, pursuant to regulations promulgated by the Department of Insurance. The funds collected from the insurers pursuant to this subsection shall be placed by the Comptroller General into a special restricted account to be used by the department to defray expenses of the division.
Section 56-10-670. This article shall not supersede other actions or penalties that may be taken or imposed for violation of the financial security requirements of this chapter."
SECTION 4. Section 56-10-553 of the 1976 Code, as added by Act 154 of 1997, is amended to read:
(A) The Department of Public Safety must collect data and maintain statistics on the total number of vehicles registered in the State as of June thirtieth of each year, the number of motorists who voluntarily paid the five hundred and fifty dollar fee at the time of registration during the fiscal year, the number of motorists who paid the penalty fee after being detected by the Department of Public Safety as being uninsured during the fiscal year, the number of certificates of insurance filed during the fiscal year, the net revenue collections for these fees by the fiscal year, the net funds available in the Uninsured Motorist Fund, and the net funds received from the Department of Insurance from the uninsured motorist fee during the fiscal year.
(B) The Department of Public Safety must implement programs designed to ensure full compliance with the financial responsibility laws. These programs must include random sampling of licensed drivers with moving violations requesting proof of insurance. Other programs may be added.
(C) The Department of Public Safety must on a daily basis select a computerized random sample of five hundred of the registered vehicles in the State and mail to each owner a written request form to be completed by him and his insurance company or the agent issuing the policy to verify liability insurance coverage. The form must be in a manner prescribed by regulation of the department. The completed and verified form must be returned by the owner to the department within fifteen days from the date he receives it. Failure to return the form verified in the proper manner is prima facie evidence that the vehicle is uninsured, and vehicles determined to be uninsured under this section are subject to the provisions of state law dealing with uninsured vehicles.
(D) The Department of Public Safety must provide an annual report to the General Assembly containing the information required in subsections (A) and (B) of this section."
SECTION 5. Section 56-10-225 of the 1976 Code, as added by Act 154 of 1997 and amended by Act 100, Part II, Section 103 B of 1999, is further amended to read:
"Section 56-10-225. (A) A person whose application for registration and licensing of a motor vehicle has been approved by the department must maintain in the motor vehicle at all times proof that the motor vehicle is an insured vehicle in conformity with the laws of this State and Section 56-10-510.
(B) The owner of a motor vehicle must maintain proof of financial responsibility in the motor vehicle at all times and it must be displayed upon demand of a police officer or any other person duly authorized by law.
(C) A person who fails to maintain the proof of insurance in his motor vehicle as required by subsection (A) is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, is subject to the same punishment as provided by law for failure of the person driving or in control of a motor vehicle to carry the vehicle registration card and to display the registration card upon demand. However, a charge of failing to maintain proof that a motor vehicle is insured must be dismissed if the person provides proof to the court that the motor vehicle was insured
at the time of the violation to the court within seven days of being charged with a violation of the provision contained in subsection (A) on the date of the stop. Upon notice of conviction, the department shall suspend the owner's driver's license until satisfactory proof of insurance is provided. If at any time the department determines that the vehicle was without insurance coverage, the owner's registration and driving privileges will be suspended pursuant to Section 56-10-520. A person failing to maintain in his vehicle the proof required pursuant to subsection (A), within thirty days of being cited for this failure, shall provide proof of insurance or have his driver's license suspended until satisfactory proof is provided. Further, this proof must be provided every quarter for one year after being cited for driving without proof of liability insurance. Failure to provide this proof when required shall cause his driver's license to be suspended until satisfactory proof is provided.
(D) The penalties provided in subsection (C) are in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other penalty, of whatever nature, provided by law for failing to act as required in subsection (A)."
SECTION 6. Section 56-10-520 of the 1976 Code, as added by Act 154 of 1997, is amended to read:
"Section 56-10-520. A person who owns an uninsured motor vehicle:
(1) licensed in the State; or
(2) subject to registration in the State;
who operates or permits the operation of that motor vehicle without first having paid to the director the uninsured motor vehicle fee required by Section 56-10-510, to be disposed of as provided by Section 56-10-550,
shall be is guilty of a misdemeanor.
A person who is the operator of
such an uninsured motor vehicle and not the titled owner, who knows that the required fee has not been paid to the director, shall be is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must: for a first offense, be fined no less than one hundred dollars and not more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned for thirty days; for a second offense, be fined two hundred dollars or imprisoned for thirty days, or both; or for a third or subsequent offense must be imprisoned for not less than forty-five days nor more than six months. Only convictions which occurred within five years, including and immediately preceding the date of the last conviction, constitute prior convictions within the meaning of this section. The director or his designee, having reason to believe that a motor vehicle is being operated or has been operated on any specified date, may require the owner of such motor vehicle to submit the certificate of insurance provided for by Section 56-10-510. The refusal or neglect of the owner who has not, before the date of operation, paid the uninsured motor vehicle fee required by Section 56-10-510 as to such motor vehicle, to furnish such certificate must be prima facie evidence that the motor vehicle was an uninsured motor vehicle at the time of such operation. A person who presents or causes to be presented to the director a false certificate that a motor vehicle is an insured motor vehicle or false evidence that a motor vehicle sought to be registered is an insured motor vehicle, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, must be fined pursuant to Section 56-10-260.
However, the foregoing portions of this section must not be applicable if it is established that the owner had good cause to believe and did believe that such motor vehicle was an insured motor vehicle, in which event the provisions of Section 56-10-245 must be applicable.
Abstracts of records of conviction, as defined in this title, of any violation of any of the provisions of this section must be forwarded to the director as prescribed by Section 56-9-330. The director shall suspend the driver's license and all registration certificates and license plates of any titled owner of an uninsured motor vehicle upon receiving
a record of his conviction of a notice of a violation of any provisions of this section, and he the director shall not thereafter reissue the driver's license and the registration certificates and license plates issued in the name of such person until such person pays the fee applicable to the registration of an uninsured motor vehicle as prescribed in Section 56-10-510 and furnishes proof of future financial responsibility as prescribed by this section. Notice of such suspension shall be made in the form provided for in Section 56-1-465. However, when three years have elapsed from the date of the suspension herein required proof was required, the director may relieve such the person of the requirement of furnishing proof of future financial responsibility. When such the suspension results from a conviction for presenting or causing to be presented to the director a false certificate as to whether a motor vehicle is an insured motor vehicle or false evidence that any motor vehicle sought to be registered is insured, then the director shall not thereafter reissue the driver's license and the registration certificates and license plates issued in the name of such the person so convicted for a period of one hundred eighty days from the date of such the order of suspension, and only then when all other provisions of law have been complied with by such the person. The director shall suspend the driver's license of any person who is the operator but not the titled owner of a motor vehicle upon receiving a record of his conviction of a notice of a violation of any provisions of this section, and he shall not thereafter reissue the driver's license until thirty days from the date of such the order of suspension."
SECTION 7. Section 56-3-210 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 497 of 1994, is further amended to read:
Persons newly acquiring vehicles and owners of foreign vehicles being moved into this State and required to be registered under this chapter may have not more than forty-five days in which to register and license them. (A) Unless the purchaser of a motor vehicle has transferred a license plate pursuant to Section 56-3-1290 or has a license plate to transfer to a newly purchased vehicle, a dealer of new or used motor vehicles must issue to the purchaser at the time of sale of a motor vehicle a temporary license plate that must contain the dealer's name, location, and the expiration date of the period within which the purchaser is required to register the motor vehicle pursuant to subsection (C) of this section. The expiration date may not extend past forty-five days from the date of purchase. A bill of sale must be maintained in the vehicle at all times to verify the date of purchase to law enforcement. A law enforcement officer has the right to stop a vehicle with a temporary license plate and check the vehicle's bill of sale. The bill of sale must provide a description of the vehicle, the names and addresses of the sellers and purchasers, and the date of sale. The temporary license plate must be made of materials as prescribed by the department. The expiration date must be printed on the temporary license plate in indelible black ink. A dealer who issues a temporary plate or allows a temporary plate to be used in violation of the section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined one hundred dollars for each occurrence.
(B) If a person obtains a motor vehicle from a party other than a dealer, the person must:
(1) transfer a license plate from another vehicle pursuant to Section 56-3-1290;
(2) purchase a new license plate and registration; or
(3) purchase a temporary license plate before operating the vehicle on the highway during the forty-five-day period prescribed in this section. The department must insert clearly and indelibly on the face of the temporary license plate the date of issuance, the date of expiration, the make, and identification number of the motor vehicle for which it is issued and other information the department may require. A bill of sale must be maintained in the vehicle at all times to verify the date of purchase to law enforcement. The bill of sale must provide a description of the vehicle, the name(s) and address(es) of the seller(s) and purchaser(s) and the date of sale. The expiration date may not extend past forty-five days from the date of purchase. The department shall charge a fee of seven dollars for the temporary license plate which shall be placed by the Comptroller General into a special restricted account to be used by the department to defray the expenses of the Division of Motor Vehicles.
(C) If a person intends to transfer a license plate from another vehicle, he may place the plate to be transferred on the newly acquired vehicle on the date of purchase. The bill of sale and the registration corresponding to the license plate must be maintained in the newly acquired vehicle at all times to verify the date of purchase to law enforcement. The person must complete the transfer to obtain a new registration card with the DMV within forty-five days from date of purchase. A person must replace a temporary license plate issued pursuant to subsection (A) or (B) with a permanent license plate and registration card as required by Section 56-3-110 within forty-five days of purchase. An owner of a vehicle registered in another state or country being moved into this State has forty-five days in which to register and license it pursuant to Section 56-3-110. A person who operates a motor vehicle in violation of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must: for a first offense be fined no more than one hundred dollars; for a second offense, be fined no more than two hundred dollars; or for a third or subsequent offense be fined no more than three hundred dollars."
SECTION 8. Section 56-10-40 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 459 of 1996, is further amended to read:
"Section 56-10-40. Every insurer writing automobile liability insurance in this State and every provider of other security approved and accepted by the director or his designee in lieu of such insurance shall
immediately notify the department in a manner prescribed by regulation of the lapse or termination of any such insurance or security during the immediately preceding month. issued to or provided for a resident of this State in the following circumstances:
(1) the lapse or termination of such insurance or security occurs within three months of issuance provided that this subsection only applies to new policies, and not renewal or replacement policies; or
(2) the lapse or termination occurs after three months for a resident who fails one or more of the objective standards prescribed in Section 38-73-455.
This notification must be in writing or magnetic media in a manner considered satisfactory to the department. The insurer must also give notice as prescribed by regulation of all policies written for the first time, renewals of all policies, and cancellations of all policies. Insurers with one thousand or fewer policies shall be permitted to report in a manner acceptable to the working group as identified in Section 56-10-640(A)(2). Upon receipt of any such notice the department shall make a reasonable effort to notify the person that his certificate of registration has been suspended and shall recover the certificate from such person and the motor vehicle registration plates from the vehicles concerned."
SECTION 9. Section 56-10-240 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 459 of 1996, is further amended to read:
"Section 56-10-240. (A) If, during the period for which it is licensed, a motor vehicle is or becomes an uninsured motor vehicle, then the vehicle owner immediately shall obtain insurance on the vehicle or within five days after the effective date of cancellation or expiration of his liability insurance policy surrender the motor vehicle license plates and registration certificates issued for the motor vehicle.
If five working days After the last day to pay an automobile liability insurance premium, whether it is the premium due date or a grace period that is granted customarily or contractually a motor vehicle is an uninsured motor vehicle, the insurer shall give written notice, or notice by magnetic or electronic media in a manner considered satisfactory to the department prescribed by the working group identified in Section 56-10-640(A)(2), within ten days after the five-day period ends, in addition to that notice previously given in accordance with law, by delivery under United States Post Office bulk certified mail, return receipt requested, to the department of the cancellation all cancellations or refusal refusals to renew. under the following circumstances:
(1) the lapse or termination of such insurance or security occurs within three months of issuance, provided that this subsection only applies to new policies, and not renewal or replacement policies; or
(2) the lapse or termination occurs after three months for a resident who fails one or more of the objective standards prescribed in Section 38-73-455.
The insurer must also give notice in a manner prescribed by regulation of all policies written for the first time and all renewals of policies. Insurers with one thousand or fewer policies shall be permitted to report in a manner acceptable to the working group as identified in Section 56-10-640(A)(2).
(B) The department, in its discretion, may authorize insurers to utilize alternative methods of providing notice of cancellation,
of or refusal to renew, new policies written, and renewals to the department. The department may not reissue registration certificates and license plates for that vehicle until satisfactory evidence has been filed by the owner or by the insurer who gave the cancellation or refusal to renew notice to the department that the vehicle is insured. Upon receiving information to the effect that a policy is canceled or otherwise terminated on a motor vehicle registered in South Carolina, the department shall suspend the license plates and registration certificate and shall initiate action as required within fifteen days of the notice of cancellation to pick up the license plates and registration certificate. A person who has had his license plates and registration certificate suspended by the department, but who at the time of suspension possesses liability insurance coverage sufficient to meet the financial responsibility requirements as set forth in this chapter, has the right to appeal the suspension immediately to the Director of the Department of Insurance. If the Director of the Department of Insurance determines that the person has sufficient liability insurance coverage, he shall notify the department, and the suspension is voided immediately. The department shall give notice by first class mail of the cancellation or suspension of registration privileges to the vehicle owner at his last known address. However, when license plates are surrendered pursuant to this section, they must be forwarded to the Department of Revenue office in the county where the person who surrenders the plates resides.
(C) If the vehicle owner unlawfully refuses to surrender the suspended items as required in this article, the department through its designated agents or by request to a county or municipal law enforcement agency may take possession of the suspended license plates and registration certificate and may not reissue the registration until proper proof of liability insurance coverage is provided and until the owner has paid a reinstatement fee of two hundred dollars. A person who voluntarily surrenders his license plates and registration certificate before their suspension shall
only not be charged a reinstatement fee of five dollars.
(D) A person wilfully failing to return his motor vehicle license plates and registration certificates as required in this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished as follows:
(1) for a first offense, fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned for thirty days;
(2) for a second offense, fined two hundred dollars or imprisoned for thirty days, or both;
(3) for a third and subsequent offense, imprisoned for not less than forty-five days nor more than six months.
(E) Only convictions which occurred within ten years including and immediately preceding the date of the last conviction constitute prior convictions within the meaning of this section." (F)
SECTION 10. Section 56-10-270 of the 1976 Code is repealed.
SECTION 11. Section 56-3-220 of the 1976 Code is repealed.
SECTION 12. Sections 1 and 2 of this act take effect upon approval by the Governor. The remaining sections take effect July 1, 2001; provided, however, that Sections 8 and 9 are effective one hundred eighty days after the latter of certification by the department to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives that the program has been implemented and is fully prepared to accept data transmitted by the insurers or publication of final regulations by the department.
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