Alabama liability insurance law takes effect Nov. 1

BUTLER, Ala. (WTOK) - Starting November 1st, uninsured motorists will face steep civil penalties as state agencies enforce the mandatory liability insurance law.

Alabama State Trooper Sergeant Roy Napp says the law was passed and signed by law makers in 2016, but drivers were allowed a grace period to acquire the insurance.

"If you have insurance, if you have mandatory liability insurance then this doesn't affect you,” Sergeant Napp says. “Where this law changes things is that there were some loop holes in the law that over the past few years we've attempted to close up and this further helps that issue."

If you are involved in a crash in the state of Alabama and do not have liability insurance coverage, you will now face a fine. Failure to pay the fine could mean a suspended license, with the possibility of jail time.

“So where as civil penalty does not provide any jail time, if this civil penalty did cost you your license, and you did not get those license back but continued to drive, at some point if you’ve never paid anybody you would probably find yourself in jail,” Napp says.

Sergeant Napp says motorist will buy insurance to obtain the coverage card but will fail to pay past the first month. He expects the enforcement of this new law will help hold more drivers accountable.

“The law is pretty simple in how we will enforce this if we assess this civil penalty. If you are operating without insurance and you have an unfortunate situation of being involved in a traffic crash, just be honest with an officer, tell him you don’t have insurance, go ahead and get that traffic citation and go to court,” Napp says.

Motorists are subject to a $200 fine on the first offense. $300 the next and then $400 on the third offense and subsequent. A motorist involved in an incident also faces a 90-day driver’s license suspension if he or she fails to pay the civil penalty within 45 days or fails to request a hearing. The policy will go into effect starting Wednesday.