1997 Regular Session
By: Representative Comans
House Bill 823
AN ACT TO CREATE A NEW CODE SECTION TO BE CODIFIED AS SECTION 63-15-8, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THAT A PERSON PROVIDE PROOF OF MOTOR VEHICLE LIABILITY INSURANCE OR OTHER FORM OF FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AS REQUIRED BY THIS CHAPTER BEFORE RECEIVING MOTOR VEHICLE LICENSE TAGS; TO AMEND SECTION 27-19-59, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT WHERE A PERSON FAILS TO MAINTAIN MOTOR VEHICLE LIABILITY INSURANCE OR OTHER FORM OF FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY SHALL REQUIRE THE PERSON TO SURRENDER HIS LICENSE TAG AND DECALS UNTIL SUCH PERSON PROVIDES PROOF OF MOTOR VEHICLE LIABILITY INSURANCE COVERAGE OR FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY; TO AMEND SECTIONS 63-1-9, 63-1-19, 63-1-53 AND 63-1-81, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THAT A PERSON PROVIDE PROOF OF MOTOR VEHICLE LIABILITY INSURANCE COVERAGE OR OTHER FORM OF FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY BEFORE RECEIVING A DRIVER'S LICENSE, COMMERCIAL DRIVER'S LICENSE OR COMMERCIAL DRIVER INSTRUCTION PERMIT; TO PROVIDE THAT WHERE A PERSON FAILS TO MAINTAIN MOTOR VEHICLE LIABILITY INSURANCE OR OTHER FORM OF FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY SHALL SUSPEND THE PERSON'S DRIVER'S LICENSE UNTIL SUCH PERSON PROVIDES PROOF OF MOTOR VEHICLE LIABILITY INSURANCE COVERAGE OR FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The following shall be codified as Section 63-15-8, Mississippi Code of 1972:
63-15-8. (1) Every owner of a motor vehicle in this state shall furnish proof of motor vehicle liability insurance or other form of financial responsibility as required by this chapter before such owner may receive a license tag for a motor vehicle or renew a license tag. Proof of motor vehicle liability insurance or other form of financial responsibility as required by this chapter shall be made by signing a certificate on a form prescribed by the Commissioner of Insurance, stating that the motor vehicle owner is insured or otherwise financially responsible for at least the minimum requirements as provided by this chapter and in any form as provided by this chapter. Such certificate shall be furnished to each motor vehicle owner by the tax collector of the county where the motor vehicle is registered. The tax collector shall mail such certificate with a motor vehicle tag renewal notice that shall be mailed back to the tax collector before a tag may be renewed. The tax collectors shall also make such certificates available at the tax collectors' offices during regular business hours. The tax collector shall forward a copy of the certificate to the Department of Public Safety and shall keep the original in the tax collector's records.
(2) All insurance carriers are required to notify the appropriate tax collector and sheriff and the Department of Public Safety when there is a lapse of the person's liability coverage that was purchased in accordance with this section.
(3) The requirements of this section are in addition to and not in lieu of any other requirements as otherwise provided by law.
SECTION 2. Section 27-19-59, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
27-19-59. Any person required under the provisions of this article to register and pay a privilege license tax on any vehicle shall make application therefor, on forms to be prescribed by the commission, and such forms shall require information as the commission may deem necessary.
All motor vehicles owned by the State of Mississippi or any agency, department or political subdivision thereof, when such agency or department is supported wholly or in part by appropriations from public funds, when used in the transportation of passengers, shall have painted on both sides, and, if practical, on the rear of each such vehicle the name of the state agency or department, in letters at least three (3) inches in height in a color which is in contrast with the color of the vehicle, and no privilege license tag and decals shall be issued for such vehicle until the name has been painted thereon as required by this section. Provided, however, the provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to vehicles used by the Chief Executive of the State of Mississippi.
The tax collector, or the commission, as the case may be, shall attach to or write upon such application the number of the license tag and decals issued to such owner, and such other information as may be deemed necessary. The tax collector and his deputies, and all representatives and employees of the commission, who are authorized to issue privilege licenses, and all other persons authorized by law to issue privilege licenses, shall have the power to administer oaths and take acknowledgments of signatures, without cost to the applicant. All applications for licenses, or a microfilm copy or a computer-generated microfilm copy of every such application, shall be preserved as a public record for a period of not less than three (3) years from the date thereof.
Each person who shall make application to the commission for the registration of and a privilege license for a common or contract carrier of passengers which is not required by law to qualify with and obtain a certificate or permit from the Mississippi Public Service Commission shall, before being issued a license, present with his application therefor satisfactory proof that such person has in force covering such vehicle a policy or policies of insurance conditioned to pay any final judgment against said carrier for personal injuries and property damage arising or resulting from the use, maintenance or operation of the vehicles of such carrier, said policy or policies of insurance to be in an amount of not less than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) for the death or injury to any one (1) person, Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) total public liability for any one (1) accident, and Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) property damage liability for any one (1) accident. Unless such proof that such insurance policy or policies are in force is presented, no license tag shall be issued to such carrier. If any person shall operate a motor vehicle, required by the provisions of this paragraph to furnish proof that the insurance mentioned is in force without having in force such insurance and without having obtained the proper license tag and decals from the commission, such person shall, notwithstanding the provisions of this paragraph, be liable for the full privilege license tax and the penalty thereon as is otherwise provided by this article and the commission shall collect such tax and penalty from such person. The commission shall not, however, issue a license tag and decals for such vehicle unless the owner or operator thereof shall thereafter furnish proof that such insurance is in force, at which time the proper license tag and decals shall be issued. If, after a license tag and decals shall have been issued for any vehicle required to present proof that the insurance required by this paragraph is in force, the commission shall receive notice or otherwise acquire knowledge that such policy or policies of insurance have been cancelled, have lapsed, or are no longer in force for any reason, then the commission shall have the authority to require and compel the surrender of such license tag and decals and to retain same until presented with proof that the policy or policies of insurance required by this section are again in force, at which time such license tag and decals shall be returned to such taxpayer. None of the provisions of this paragraph shall apply, however, to private carriers of passengers.
All other persons who apply for the registration of and a privilege license for a motor vehicle shall provide with his application, in addition to other requirements of this article, proof of motor vehicle liability insurance or other form of proof of financial responsibility, as required by Chapter 15, Title 63, Mississippi Code of 1972. If, after a license tag and decals have been issued to any person required to present proof of insurance or financial responsibility, the Department of Public Safety receives notice or otherwise acquires knowledge that such insurance coverage has lapsed, been cancelled or is no longer in effect, the Department of Public Safety shall require the surrender of the license tag and decal. The Department of Public Safety shall retain such license tag and decal until presented with proof of purchase of motor vehicle liability insurance coverage or financial responsibility, and upon being presented with such proof, shall return the license tag and decal to the taxpayer.
SECTION 3. Section 63-1-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
63-1-9. (1) No license shall be issued pursuant to this article:
(a) To any person under the age of sixteen (16) years except as provided in subsection (2) of this section.
(b) To any person whose license to operate a motor vehicle on the highways of Mississippi has been previously revoked or suspended by this state or any other state and/or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia, and such revocation or suspension period has not expired.
(c) To any person who is an habitual drunkard or who is addicted to the use of other narcotic drugs.
(d) To any person who would not be able by reason of physical or mental disability, in the opinion of the commissioner or other person authorized to grant an operator's license, to operate a motor vehicle on the highways with safety. However, persons who have one (1) arm or leg, or have arms or legs deformed, and have their car provided with mechanical devices whereby they are able to drive in a safe manner over the highways, if otherwise qualified, shall receive an operator's license the same as other persons. Moreover, deafness shall not be a bar to obtaining a license.
(e) To any person who is under the age of seventeen (17) years to drive any motor vehicle while in use as a school bus for the transportation of pupils to or from school, or to drive any motor vehicle while in use as a public or common carrier of persons or property.
(f) To any person as an operator who has previously been adjudged to be afflicted with and suffering from any mental disability and who has not at time of application been restored to mental competency.
(g) To any unmarried person under the age of eighteen (18) years who does not at the time of application present a diploma or other certificate of high school graduation or a general education development certificate issued to the person in this state or any other state, or documentation that the person:
(i) Is enrolled and making satisfactory progress in a course leading to a general education development certificate;
(ii) Is enrolled in school in this state or any other state;
(iii) Is enrolled in a "nonpublic school," as such term is defined in Section 37-13-91(2)(i); or
(iv) Is unable to attend any school program due to circumstances deemed acceptable as set out in Section 63-1-10.
(h) To any person under the age of eighteen (18) years who has been convicted under Section 63-11-30.
(i) To any person who does not provide proof of motor vehicle liability insurance or other form of proof of financial responsibility, as required by Chapter 15, Title 63, Mississippi Code of 1972.
(2) Upon meeting all other state requirements for licensure, a minor who is a resident of this state and who is fifteen (15) years of age may apply for and be issued a driver's license if:
(a) He presents to the Department of Public Safety, at the time of application, documentation satisfactory to the Commissioner of Public Safety that the minor resides with a physically impaired parent whose physical impairment prevents the parent from securing a driver's license; or
(b) He presents to the Department of Public Safety, at the time of application, on a form prepared by and approved by the Commissioner of Public Safety, an affidavit signed by a parent or guardian of the minor and by the employer of the minor, with each signature being witnessed and acknowledged by a notary public or other person authorized under the laws of this state to administer oaths, stating that the minor is gainfully employed and, in order to avoid a severe hardship, needs to be authorized to drive a vehicle in order to retain his employment.
(3) A driver's license issued under paragraph (2)(b) of this section shall be restricted for use between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. It shall be unlawful for any minor who is issued a driver's license under paragraph (2)(b) of this section to operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
SECTION 4. Section 63-1-19, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
63-1-19. Every applicant for a license issued pursuant to this article shall file an application for such license, on a form provided by the Department of Public Safety, with the commissioner or an official license examiner of the department. All persons not holding valid, unexpired licenses issued in this state shall be required to secure an original license, except those specifically exempted from licensing under Section 63-1-7. The application shall state the name, date of birth, sex, race, color of eyes, color of hair, weight, height and residence address, and whether or not the applicant's privilege to drive has been suspended or revoked at any time, and, if so, when, by whom, and for what cause, and whether any previous application by him has been denied, and whether he has any physical defects which would interfere with his operating a motor vehicle safely upon the highways. The application shall also state whether or not the applicant has in force motor vehicle liability insurance or other form of financial responsibility, as required by Chapter 15, Title 63, Mississippi Code of 1972.
SECTION 5. Section 63-1-53, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
63-1-53. (1) Upon failure of any person to respond timely and properly to a summons or citation charging such person with any violation of this title, or upon failure of any person to pay timely any fine, fee or assessment levied as a result of any violation of this title, the clerk of the court shall give written notice to such person by United States first class mail at his last known address advising such person that if within ten (10) days after such notice is deposited in the mail the person has not properly responded to the summons or citation or has not paid the entire amount of all fines, fees and assessments levied, then the court will give notice thereof to the Commissioner of Public Safety and the commissioner may suspend the driver's license of such person. The actual cost incurred by the court in the giving of such notice may be added to any other court costs assessed in such case. If within ten (10) days after the notice is given in accordance with this subsection such person has not satisfactorily disposed of the matter pending before the court, then the clerk of the court immediately shall mail a copy of the abstract of the court record, along with a certified copy of the notice given under this subsection, to the Commissioner of Public Safety, and the commissioner may suspend the driver's license of such person as authorized under subsections (2) and (3) of this section.
(2) The commissioner is hereby authorized to suspend the license of an operator without preliminary hearing upon a showing by his records or other sufficient evidence that the licensee:
(a) Has committed an offense for which mandatory revocation of license is required upon conviction except under the provisions of the Mississippi Implied Consent Law;
(b) Has been involved as a driver in any accident resulting in the death or personal injury of another or serious property damage;
(c) Is an habitually reckless or negligent driver of a motor vehicle;
(d) Has been convicted with such frequency of serious offenses against traffic regulations governing the movement of vehicles as to indicate a disrespect for traffic laws and a disregard for the safety of other persons on the highways;
(e) Is incompetent to drive a motor vehicle;
(f) Has permitted an unlawful or fraudulent use of such license;
(g) Has committed an offense in another state which if committed in this state would be grounds for suspension or revocation;
(h) Has failed to pay any fine, fee or other assessment levied as a result of any violation of this title;
(i) Has failed to respond to a summons or citation which charged a violation of this title; or
(j) Has committed a violation for which mandatory revocation of license is required upon conviction, entering a plea of nolo contendere to, or adjudication of delinquency, pursuant to the provisions of subsection (1) of Section 63-1-71.
(3) Notice that a person's license is suspended or will be suspended under subsection (2) of this section shall be given by the commissioner in the manner and at the time provided for under Section 63-1-52, and upon such person's request, he shall be afforded an opportunity for a hearing as early as practical within not to exceed twenty (20) days after receipt of such request in the county wherein the licensee resides unless the department and the licensee agree that such hearing may be held in some other county. Upon such hearing the commissioner, or his duly authorized agent, may administer oaths and may issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of relevant books and papers and may require a reexamination of the licensee. Except as otherwise provided herein, upon such hearing the commissioner shall either rescind any order of suspension or, good cause appearing therefor, may extend any suspension of such license or revoke such license. In cases where a person's license is suspended due to the failure of such person to maintain motor vehicle liability insurance coverage or other form of financial responsibility, such driver's license shall be reinstated upon payment of any fines and reinstatement fees, serving of a sentence if applicable, and upon presentation of proof of purchase of minimum motor vehicle liability insurance coverage or proof of financial responsibility as required by Chapter 15, Title 63, Mississippi Code of 1972.
(4) The commissioner shall suspend the license of an operator without preliminary hearing upon a showing by his records or other sufficient evidence that the licensee has failed to maintain liability insurance coverage or failed to provide other form of proof of financial responsibility, as required by Title 15, Chapter 63, Mississippi Code of 1972. The commissioner shall provide notice to a person whose license has been suspended for failure to maintain liability insurance coverage or for failure to provide other form of proof of financial responsibility, and that such person's license may be reinstated in the manner provided in subsection (3) of this section. Such notice shall be given in the manner provided for under Section 63-1-52.
SECTION 6. Section 63-1-81, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
63-1-81. (1) Each application for a commercial driver's license or commercial driver instruction permit shall include the following:
(a) The full name and the current mailing and residential address of the applicant;
(b) A physical description of the applicant, including sex, height, weight, eye and hair color;
(c) The applicant's date of birth;
(d) The applicant's Social Security number unless the application is for a nonresident commercial driver's license;
(e) The applicant's signature;
(f) The applicant's color photograph;
(g) All certifications required by applicable federal regulations;
(h) Any other information which the Commissioner of Public Safety, by rule or regulation, determines necessary and essential; and
(i) The consent of the applicant to release driving record information.
(j) Proof that the applicant has motor vehicle liability insurance coverage or other form of financial responsibility, as required by Chapter 15, Title 63, Mississippi Code of 1972.
(2) The fee for accepting and processing an application for a commercial driver instruction permit shall be Ten Dollars ($10.00).
(3) The fee for accepting and processing an application for a Class A, B or C commercial driver's license shall be Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00).
(4) No person who has been a resident of this state for thirty (30) days may drive a commercial motor vehicle under the authority of a commercial driver's license issued by another jurisdiction. Any violation of this subsection shall be punishable as provided by Section 63-1-69, Mississippi Code of 1972.
(5) Any person who knowingly falsifies information or certifications required under subsection (1) of this section shall be subject to the penalties prescribed in Section 63-1-59, Mississippi Code of 1972, and shall be subject to suspension of his commercial driver instruction permit or commercial driver's license in accordance with Section 63-1-51, Mississippi Code of 1972.
SECTION 7. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.