Originally created 05/11/04

113,000 lose licenses over lax insurance



More than 100,000 Georgia drivers who either were not listed on a statewide insurance database or have had a lapse in their insurance coverage are now grounded.

The Georgia Department of Motor Vehicle Safety has suspended the registrations of 113,355 motorists - out of more than 7 million statewide - who did not respond by May 1 to notification letters about problems with their insurance coverage.

Of these delinquent drivers, 24,844 have had at least one day's lapse in insurance coverage at some point since Jan. 1, and the remaining 88,511 were listed in the database as not having any insurance.

"Their insurance was canceled and left canceled or their new insurance company didn't send their information to us," said Susan Sports, a spokeswoman for the department. "Either way they had 30 days to take care of it."

She said the department mailed out about 275,000 letters April 1 to Georgians with gaps in coverage or with no coverage at all, giving them 30 days to respond or face suspension.

To be reinstated, drivers must pay a $25 lapse fee and a $60 restoration fee to their county's tax commissioner office in addition to any other registration fees or vehicle taxes required of them individually, Ms. Sports said.

Motorists who drive during their suspensions would face misdemeanor charges with penalties of up to 12 months in prison and $1,000 in fines.

INSURANCE WOES

Of the 275,000 motorists who had problems with their insurance coverage, about 10,000 live in Richmond and Columbia counties. Notification letters were sent April 1.

Richmond County

  • 1,288 letters about insurance lapses

  • 6,460 letters about lack of insurance
  • Columbia County

  • 575 letters about insurance lapses

  • 2,177 letters about lack of insurance
  • Reach Dena Levitz at (706) 823-3339 or dena.levitz@augustachronicle.com.