OMV fines collected surpasses $115 million
BATON ROUGE - It's been awhile since the state starting mailing out letters to collect fines for lapsed car insurance in Louisiana. Since those letters started going out in 2015, the Office of Motor Vehicles has collected about $115 million and the money is still coming in.
There were 1,139,191 referral notices sent to customers in 2015 for lapsed car insurance. When HB638 passed, the projected number if all lapsed car insurance fines were paid was $444 million. Since, a number of those fines were waived or cleared.
The Office of Debt Recovery collected approximately $53 million in 2016, $36 million in 2017, and $25 million in 2018.
OMV Commissioner Karen St. Germain says those funds collected go to various places.
"If everything on the books is done, that money goes back to the general fund," she said.
Even though millions of dollars in fines have gone unpaid, St. Germain says HB638 worked and the number of uninsured drivers in Louisiana dropped from about 14.5 percent to 11.5 percent. That process of cracking down on Louisiana's uninsured drivers continues and letter go out more often.
"We're sending them more on a regular basis so if you're not hearing about them as much we're taking care of them as they come in," she said.
In 2016, a bill passed that outlines payment plans for drivers owing the Office of Motor Vehicles more than $250 in lapsed insurance fines. St. Germain says there are still people calling the OMV to enter into one of those plans.