NJ law would let unsafe drivers pay to avoid points, keep premiums low


New Jersey motorists could soon pay higher fees instead of getting points on driver’s licenses under a bill that has advanced through the state’s Senate Transportation Committee.

Sen. Christopher Bateman sponsored the bill, which would amend the state’s driving statute to allow points forgiveness up to two times in five years. The bill would allow motorists a chance to pay enhanced fees to avoid points, which can cause auto insurance rates to rise. The bill also would increase from $250 to $500 the minimum fine for motorists with three unsafe driving offenses.

Bateman first introduced the proposal in 2008, and the Senate unanimously passed the measure in May 2009. Last year, the bill died by Assembly inaction.

The state Motor Vehicle Commission and the New Jersey Bar Association both supported the bill last session.


8 Responses

  1. Sandy Pardine Says:

    Yes, but the only problem (not addressed) is that the MVR doesn’t show any points for Unsafe driving viols, but insurance companies still charge, because insurance points are not the same as MVR points. Ins. cos. treat the Unsafe Driver viol. as a “minor violation” and depending on the co’s rating structure, they consider it to increase to a higher rating Tier, or as one of the mysterious “variables,” which is never entered on the policy, and leaves agents in the dark. Ex: Client calls & asks why their renewal increased $400 or $500. Agt calls Co. Answer: “rating variables” WE understand what they mean, but try explaining that to the client. If this is such a good system, why can’t the companies point to the specific reason(s) the premium increased? Very frustrating from the agt’s end. And lastly, clients ask if they pay an atty $400 or more to get a viol dismissed to -0 pts, will the co. disregard the viol? (Answer-No). Thanks for listening!

  2. Mark Says:

    Brilliant. So wealthy bad drivers can pay a fine (a legislatively approved bribe) and economically challenged drivers just rack up points and continue to drive illegally. And the responsible drivers who end up getting crashed into by the bad drivers get stuck paying the costs in the form of higher insurance premiums. Why won’t you allow people to bear the full brunt of their own bad choices? If these bad drivers had to do without their cars for a while, some of them would probably change their habits…to the benefit of all.

  3. Tired of the Tricks Says:

    Let me make sure I understand this correctly. So instead of the insurance company being made aware of the higher risks that they are taking on by insuring a bad driver, and thus applying an appropriate premium for that risky driver, we are going to allow those that can afford it, the opportunity to pay to have their bad driving record hidden from the view of the companies who insure them. Hold on….thinking…so therefor, our government entities get to collect more which will certainly offset the need for increased taxes or something right? Ahhh but…when that bad driver gets in an accident and the insurance company pays the bill, what happens. Oh, that’s right, everyone else gets an increase in their insurance premium. Come on… Why complicate things, let the insurance company know what risks they are taking on and charge the appropriate premium so those of us who are good drivers don’t take a punch to the gutt.

  4. John the Insurance Guy Says:

    The insurance companies are not that stupid! They are in the risk assessment business and when they see two or three Unsafe Operation tickets on one’s MVR they know it was plea bargained from a speeding or other ticket so they use them to put one in an apropriate tier as if it were a speeding ticket or other moving violation. So one is really not saving anything! When these tickets first started many companies didn’t charge for them but now all I work with do.

  5. Ken Curtis Says:

    Sandy is correct. Most Insurance comapnies disregard the point value of minor Traffic violations. It has been this way for several years. A driving in an unsafe maner with 0 points is just as distructive to your insurance premium as careless driving, red light,minor speeding or any other 2 point ticket. See my blog at http://www.kencurtisagency.com.

    Discuss the impact points will have on your insurance premium with your agent before you call an attorney or pay an additional fine for the sole purpose of eliminating points. The legal profession seems to be ignorant of this fact and continue to advise clients to accept the higher fine rather than get points on their driving record.

  6. sq Says:

    bottom line in NJ, you think its better to pay extra up front to get “unsafe operation” rather than speeding with 2 pts and guess what, the insurance company knows exactly how the game works and you get screwed for more $. the idea behind paying extra for the “unsafe operation” was to avoid paying more over the long term via insurance premiums. you’re still penalized, you still have to go to court so the disincentive not to obey the law is there, its not like you can do this over and over. you cant avoid the points if you get 2 or more tickets in a 2 yr period.

    the system stinks. its all about the gov & big companies nickel and dimeing the avg citizen into bankruptcy. now if you “roll” through a light with a camera; ticket! chaChing$$ thats what its all

  7. Charles Says:

    I recently got my first speeding ticket going 93 in a 65 on the garden state parkway how likely would i qualify for an unsafe operation

  8. Todd Says:

    Some carriers don’t charge for incidents. Allstate is one carrier who doesn’t charge for an Unsafe Operations (0 point) violation. Though there would have to be a similar NJDOBI rule preventing insurance companies from charging for “incidents” which will be VERY difficult to get carriers like Geico and Progressive to swallow. Good luck, but I don’t think this will go anywhere. Interesting because Bateman has relatives in the insurance brokerage business.

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