GOVERNMENT: Wrap-up of state legislative and regulatory news

A Virginia state legislator whose vehicle was totaled after the sunroof of his vehicle was left open in a rainstorm was a proponent this year of legislation to raise the threshold of damage requiring a flood-damaged vehicle to receive a branded title from $1,000 to $5,000. Backers argued that the threshold had been set decades ago, and was unrealistic given inflation and the increased value of vehicles. Opponents to the change argued that today’s vehicles have far more electronics than cars had decades ago, and that no consumer should unknowingly buy a vehicle that has had thousands of dollars in water damage. In the end, lawmakers raised the threshold to $2,500.
Uninsured motorists who crash their cars in Oklahoma will no longer be able to collect damages for pain and suffering under a new “no pay, no play” vehicle insurance law. Under the law, which took effect this month, uninsured drivers will still be able to recover economic damages for medical costs, property damage and loss of income. But they will be barred from receiving payment for pain and suffering, even if they did not cause the crash in which they were hurt.
Vermont already has one of the lowest rates of motorists driving without insurance in the country, but the state is about to make it even more costly for doing so. Under legislation passed this year, the fines for driving uninsured will jump from a maximum of $100 to between $250 and $500.