Bill would confiscate cars from uninsured motorists

Rep. George Cleveland says the Highway Patrol pulls over 45 to 50 drivers a month who do not have insurance on their cars.

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Mark Binker
Amanda Lamb
RALEIGH, N.C. — Rep. George Cleveland, R-Onslow, has introduced a bill that would allow the state to confiscate the vehicles of those pulled over and found to be driving without insurance.

"We have a whole lot of folks in this state driving without insurance," Cleveland said late Monday, noting that the Highway Patrol pulls over between 45 and 50 people every month who are driving without insurance. "Compound that over all the sheriff's departments and police departments in the state."

Drivers cannot renew their license plates without having insurance on their cars, but Cleveland said that many people sign up for a policy temporarily, complete their renewal and then cancel the policy.

Under the bill, a vehicle can be seized if someone is convicted of driving without insurance. There are exceptions for technical errors that lead to a lapse in insurance.

There are also provisions that allow drivers a grace period before their vehicle is sold to get insurance.

"We've tried getting their attention. Maybe we'll try this," Cleveland said.

According to 1st Sgt. Jeff Gordon, a spokesman for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, state troopers issued 24,436 citations last year to drivers without insurance.

"It's a horrendous amount of automobiles out there, and if they get in an accident, who's responsible?" Cleveland said. "The bill will at least get the cars off the road until the individual gets insurance on his vehicle."

Some, however, think the proposed law goes overboard.

"I think that's ridiculous," driver Melissa Pinter said. "A lot of people don't have the money right now. There are a lot of people that are actually losing their jobs, that are homeless."

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