Motorists must show proof of insurance beginning Jan. 1.

From Staff Reports

   On Jan. 1, law enforcement agencies across the state will begin enforcement of a new law requiring motorists to show proof of insurance if they are stopped for a moving traffic violation or involved in an accident.
   A violation could result in a $100 fine and suspension of driving privileges. Reinstatement of a driver's license will cost $65 and require proof of insurance.
   Deputy Chief Larry Shell of the Elizabethton Police Department said officers already have been instructed to ask for driver's license, registration and proof of insurance if motorists are stopped for a moving traffic violation or involved in an accident.
   The Carter County Sheriff's Department and Tennessee Highway Patrol also will begin enforcement of the new law Jan. 1, which mandates minimum insurance coverage of $25,000 for single bodily injury, $50,000 for all injuries, and $10,000 for property damage, said Tennessee Department of Safety spokeswoman Dana Keaton.
   The new law is a compromise between lawmakers who wanted mandatory auto insurance and lobbyists for the industry, who didn't. It requires drivers to have an insurance card, binder or declaration page from a policy whenever they are behind the wheel.
   The original proposal would have required all Tennesseans to show proof of insurance or financial responsibility before registering their vehicle each year.
   But insurance companies didn't like the idea of the extra paperwork that would have been involved in alerting the state every time a policy is canceled. And county clerks across the state opposed the workload of requiring proof of insurance every time someone renews a license tag.
   Prior to Jan. 1, insurance or proof of financial responsibility was required only after a driver was in an accident or was charged with reckless or drunken driving.