GOVERNMENT: State Legislative News

A new law in Nevada raises the penalties for drivers who let their insurance lapse; a single lapse of 30 days or less carries the same $250 penalty that had been in place in the state, but longer or multiple lapses can raise the penalty to as high as $1,250.
Rhode Island has passed a budget bill that as of October 1 will require consumers whose vehicle is a total loss to pay sales tax on the full value of a replacement vehicle; insurers are being told they will be required to reimburse customers for the tax.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has signed a new law to create by 2013 an electronic database to match up cars in that state to valid insurance policies; the system will enable law enforcement officials and DMV officials registering vehicles to verify proof of insurance. Officials estimate that about 22 percent of Alabama drivers lack car insurance.
Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a bill that would designate the vehicle owner as the owner of any “black box” data captured by the vehicle’s “event data recorder” or “sensing and diagnostic modules;” under the proposal, vehicle manufacturers must disclose the presence of such recorders, and insurers or lienholders may not mandate the release of such data by the vehicle owner as a condition of a policy or lease.
A legislative proposal in Michigan would allow low-income drivers with clean driving records in Wayne County (which includes Detroit) to purchase reduced personal injury auto insurance coverage for lower rates; data from the Insurance Information Institute indicates Detroit drivers have the highest premiums in the country, 56 percent more than second-place New Orleans.
A bill introduced in South Carolina would require shops in that state to provide a written estimate to the customer prior to beginning repairs, including an estimated completion time and an indication of which parts will be OEM, non-OEM or used. The bill would require that any non-OEM parts “be of like kind and quality, and must have the same form, fit and function as the parts being replaced.” The bill lays out a fine of up to $1,000 for violations.