New Law on DUIís

 

Q.    One of our auto policyholders received a DUI several years ago.  Assuming his/her driving record remains otherwise good, how long do they have to wait until they can again be considered a "good driver" for insurance purposes.

 

A.    The answer depends on the date of conviction of the offense.

    Until this year, California Insurance Code Section 1861.025 provided that a person was qualified to purchase a "Good Driver Discount" auto insurance policy if he or she meets specified criteria, including not having been convicted of various DUI-related offenses in the prior seven years.

    However, SB 597, which was enacted last year and took effect on
Jan. 1, 2006, increases the waiting period from seven to 10 years in most cases.

    As amended, Insurance Code Section 1861.025(c) now states that a person cannot have a DUI-related conviction on their record, "During the period commencing on January 1, 1999, or the date 10 years prior to the date of application for the issuance or renewal of the Good Driver Discount policy, whichever is later, and ending on the date of the application for the issuance or renewal of the Good Driver Discount policy."

The purpose of the language was to make the 10-year period apply prospectively. For any incident that has already occurred,
January 1, 1999 is the later date and therefore the seven-year period still applies. Going forward, the seven year period will grow day-by-day until January 1, 2009, after which all policy applications will have a full 10-year period.

    Here is Section 1861.025, in its entirety:

CALIFORNIA INSURANCE CODE SECTION 1861.025:

A person is qualified to purchase a Good Driver Discount policy if he or she meets all of the following criteria:
   (a) He or she has been licensed to drive a motor vehicle for the previous three years.

   (b) During the previous three years, he or she has not done any of the following:
   (1) Had more than one violation point count determined as provided by subdivision (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (g), or (h) of Section 12810 of the Vehicle Code, but subject to the following modifications:
   For the purposes of this section, the driver of a motor vehicle involved in an accident for which he or she was principally at fault that resulted only in damage to property shall receive one violation point count, in addition to any other violation points that may be
imposed for this accident.
   If, under Section 488 or 488.5, an insurer is prohibited from increasing the premium on a policy on account of a violation, that violation shall not be included in determining the point count of the person.
   If a violation is required to be reported under Section 1816 of the Vehicle Code, or under Section 784 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or any other provision requiring the reporting of a violation by a minor, the violation shall be included for the purposes of this section in determining the point count in the same manner as is applicable to adult violations.
   (2) Had more than one dismissal pursuant to Section 1803.5 of the Vehicle Code that was not made confidential pursuant to Section 1808.7 of the Vehicle Code, in the 36-month period for violations that would have resulted in the imposition of more than one violation point count under paragraph (1) if the complaint had not been dismissed.!   (3) Was the driver of a motor vehicle involved in an accident that resulted in bodily injury or in the death of any person and was principally at fault? The commissioner shall adopt regulations setting guidelines to be used by insurers for the determination of fault for the purposes of this paragraph and paragraph (1).
   (c) During the period commencing on January 1, 1999, or the date 10 years prior to the date of application for the issuance or renewal of the Good Driver Discount policy, whichever is later, and ending on the date of the application for the issuance or renewal of the Good Driver Discount policy, he or she has not been convicted of a violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, a felony violation of Section 23550 or 23566, or former Section 23175 or, as those sections read on January 1, 1999, of the Vehicle Code, or a violation of Section 191.5 or paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 192 of the Penal Code.
   (d) Any person who claims that he or she meets the criteria of subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) based entirely or partially on a driver's license and driving experience acquired anywhere other than in the United States or Canada is rebuttably presumed to be qualified to purchase a Good Driver Discount policy if he or she has been licensed to drive in the United States or Canada for at least the previous 18 months and meets the criteria of subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) for that period.

 

 

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