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Arizona drivers who have neither licenses nor insurance and are involved in wrecks are subject to losing their wheels as of Tuesday, Nov. 1.

The new law requires the immediate impounding of the vehicle of any motorist found at the scene of a traffic accident without auto insurance and also lacking a driver’s license. Arizona lawmakers approved it earlier this year.

One study estimates as many as 40 percent of the state’s drivers are driving without insurance.

The new law makes a 30-day impoundment mandatory and imposes a $500 fine for a lack of insurance, up from $250. Motorists would have to pay a $750 fine for the second offense within three years.

Until now, state law allowed police officers to decide whether to impound a vehicle involved in a traffic accident when a driver lacks insurance. Brian Livingston of the Arizona Police Association recently told The Arizona Republic officers routinely have cited drivers without seizing their vehicles.

Vehicles were not impounded when a driver lacked a valid license.

Carrying insurance and a driver’s license won’t necessarily prevent accidents, supporters say, but it could help ensure that drivers take responsibility when a crash occurs.

Rep. Robert Meza, D-Phoenix, told “Land Line Now” that time will tell if the new rules are a deterrent to driving without a license nor insurance.

“Many insurance companies have called me about the amount of calls they have received from people requesting and getting insurance in the past two months,” Meza said.

Though carrying proof of insurance is required under Arizona law, the Arizona AAA estimates that about 40 percent of drivers in the state may lack insurance, The Republic reported. In 2004, there were 5.3 million vehicle registrations in the state.
 
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