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ODPS Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles Random Selection - FAQ


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Where in law can I find the Random Selection Program?

Section 4509.101 of the Ohio Revised Code (R.C.) is Ohio's Financial Responsibility Act. This law prohibits vehicle owners from operating or allowing the operation of their vehicle without maintaining financial responsibility. One method of verifying that a vehicle owner maintains financial responsibility is through the Random Selection Program. In addition, this law authorizes the Registrar of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to adopt rules establishing the Random Selection Program. Chapter 4501:1-2 of the Ohio Administrative Code (O.A.C.) provides more detailed information regarding financial responsibility laws and the Random Selection Program.

I provided proof of insurance when I renewed my plates. Why am I being asked for it again?

When an individual signs the financial responsibility statement at the Deputy Registrar, it is only to acknowledge that the individual is aware of the existence of the law. It is not considered proof of insurance. Research of programs in other states that require proof of insurance at the time of registration reveals that many individuals obtain insurance just prior to registration and then cancel that insurance immediately. It was the Ohio General Assembly's intention to require that each person obtain and maintain financial responsibility. After considering many options it was determined that a random selection program would encourage vehicle owners not only to obtain, but to also maintain financial responsibility.

Why didn't I know about this program?

A statewide publicity campaign, involving radio, television and newspaper coverage, was initiated at the start of the program in 1998. Since that time, news releases concerning the program have been sent out on a periodic basis. In order to be fair and equitable, the State chose to implement the program after a period of research and development. Among the factors considered was an appropriate size for the random sample, which was established at 5% of registered vehicles.

Why do I need to show proof of insurance when I haven't had a ticket or accident?

All persons are required to maintain proof of financial responsibility coverage continuously throughout the registration period of their vehicle. R.C.4509.101 (A)(3)(c) and O.A.C. rules 4501:1-2-07 and -08 allow the Registrar to randomly select individuals to provide verification of their proof of financial responsibility. This is a true random process and has no relationship to whether or not a person has received a traffic ticket.

How can you suspend my license if I haven't done anything wrong?

R.C. 4509.101 requires all owners and/or drivers of vehicles registered in Ohio to maintain proof of financial responsibility in the form of liability insurance or a bond. An individual can be asked for proof if:

                                    • He/she is detained by a peace officer
                                    • He/she is involved in an accident that requires the filing of an accident report
                                    • He/she is randomly selected by the Registrar

If an individual cannot provide proof of financial responsibility when requested, R.C. 4509.101 requires that the driving and registration privileges of that person be suspended.

What kind of coverage do I need to carry?

R.C. 4509.51 states that minimum liability insurance requirements are:

                                    • $25,000 because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident
                                    • $50,000 because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident
                                    • $25,000 because of injury to property of others in any one accident
                                    • An insurance ID card covering the selected vehicle, with effective dates covering the proof of coverage date of the Random Selection notice
                                    • An insurance policy covering the selected vehicle, with effective dates covering the proof of coverage date of the Random Selection notice
                                    • A letter from your insurance agent on company letterhead stating that coverage was in effect for the selected vehicle on the proof of coverage date of the Random Selection notice
                                    • A bond or SR-22 form with effective date prior to the proof of coverage date of the Random Selection notice (note that non-owner SR-22 forms or bonds are not acceptable). An SR-22 is a minimum limit liability insurance policy that covers only the individual named on the policy. It is a requirement for individuals who are meeting their reinstatement requirements for certain suspensions, including Non-compliance and Twelve Point suspensions. The insurance company filing the SR-22 with the Bureau is required by law to notify the Bureau if the policy is canceled for any reason.

I own the vehicle, but don't drive it. Why do I need insurance?

A vehicle owner is required to maintain insurance coverage on a registered vehicle, whether or not the owner is driving the vehicle, or allowing someone else to drive the vehicle. The Supreme Court has ruled that an owner cannot voluntarily place an operable vehicle "out of service" by simply not driving it and be exempt from financial responsibility requirements. State ex Rel. Wright v. Registrar, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, 87 Ohio St. 3d, 718 N.E.2d 908 (1999).

I dropped the insurance while waiting to sell the vehicle. Why do I need proof of insurance now?

According to the law, a vehicle owner is required to maintain insurance or another acceptable form of financial responsibility coverage on a registered vehicle throughout the registration period of that vehicle. Until the vehicle is actually sold and the title signed and notarized, it is considered your vehicle and the insurance coverage must be maintained.

I no longer own this vehicle. What should I do?

You must submit proof of the sale. Acceptable forms of proof would be a photocopy of the dated and signed title, a form from a car dealership listing the vehicle as a trade-in, or a dated and notarized Bill of Sale.

I live in a different state. Why do I need show insurance in Ohio?

Any vehicle that is registered in Ohio falls under Ohio vehicle laws. R.C. 4509.101 requires that a vehicle's owner maintain insurance or other acceptable form of financial responsibility coverage on a registered vehicle throughout the registration period of that vehicle.

I live out of state and do not have an Ohio driver's license. How can you suspend my out-of-state license?

Ohio is not suspending your out-of state driver's license, but Ohio is suspending your privileges to drive in the state of Ohio. This means you may no longer operate a vehicle in this state. Ohio will post your suspension on the National Driver Registry (NDR) and Problem Driver Pointer System. Your home state may check this Registry for suspensions, and may take its own action against your driver's license. Some states will run NDR checks at the time of license renewal; others will run checks if a vehicle is stopped and the peace officer decides there may be a reason to run the check.

I only carry insurance part of the year, because I don't drive this vehicle in the winter. How do I provide proof?

The Bureau will accept a letter from your insurance agent, stating that the vehicle is used as a seasonal vehicle, and normally carries liability coverage only during certain months of the year when the vehicle is actually driven.

The vehicle is inoperable. Do I need to show insurance on something that can't be driven?

If a vehicle is uninsured because it is inoperable, and it has been inoperable for at least 30 days prior to the selection date, the Bureau will consider a signed statement from an auto shop, garage, or dealership service section on company letterhead stating that the vehicle was inoperable for the minimum 30-day period prior to the selection date. The Bureau will also consider a combination of documents such as receipts for parts, a receipt from a towing company, photographs that clearly show the vehicle's inoperable condition, a signed statement from law enforcement officials, or other verifiable documentation. The Bureau reserves the right to verify this information, and in some cases it will send an investigator to check the vehicle, repair shop files, and other pertinent information. Repairs for items considered "routine maintenance" such as batteries, brakes, belts, etc. cannot be used as proof of inoperability.

Is my license already suspended?

No, the Bureau's procedure gives individuals three months to provide the Bureau with proof of financial responsibility. The Notice Requiring Proof of Insurance gives individuals 21 days to respond. If no response is received or an inadequate response is received (e.g., an insurance card with wrong dates or the wrong vehicle) within 30 days, the Bureau sends the First Notice of Suspension. This Notice provides the recipient with 60 days to prove proof of insurance before the pending suspension becomes effective. If the required documentation is not provided to the Bureau, a Second Notice of Suspension is sent by certified mail 30 days before the start date of the suspension. If the required documentation is still not provided, your driver's license will be suspended. You can be automatically granted full driving privileges upon payment of the reinstatement fee and filing of the SR-22 or bond with the Bureau, provided no other suspensions are in effect.

Why does my suspension start 90 days after you request proof, and not immediately?

By law, the Bureau is mandated to allow this timeframe so that an individual has adequate time to provide proof of insurance.

I don't have insurance. If I get it immediately, will that prevent the suspension?

While you should immediately obtain insurance if you do not currently have it in order to avoid the potential of other Bureau suspensions, obtaining insurance after the random selection date will not prevent a random selection suspension. R.C. 4509.101 states that a person must show proof of insurance or other acceptable financial responsibility when requested by the Registrar. The Bureau has decided that proof of insurance will be requested for a date just prior to the mailing of the Notice Requiring Proof of Insurance. If you did not have insurance in effect for that particular date, your driving and registration privileges will be suspended.

I obtained insurance right after I received your letter. Why am I being suspended?

Insurance is required throughout the registration period of a vehicle. R.C. 4509.101 states that a person must show proof of insurance or other acceptable financial responsibility when requested by the Registrar. If you did not have insurance in effect for the proof of coverage date, your driving and registration privileges will be suspended pursuant to the law.

Do I need to pay the fees if I am insured?

If you show proof of insurance for the requested date, there are no fees involved.

How can you suspend me when people with OVIs are still driving?

Ohio's OVI laws are governed by a different set of statutes than Ohio's financial responsibility laws. Each has its own provisions regarding driver's licensing and suspension. If this is your first or second financial responsibility suspension, you may petition the court having jurisdiction over your place of residence for occupational driving privileges. The court may choose to grant privileges, but is not required to do so.

Can I take my proof of insurance to a reinstatement office?


How much is the reinstatement fee?

The fee is $100.00 if you send your license plates and driver's license to the BMV prior to the start of the suspension, and $150.00 if you do not.

What do I need to do to get my driving and registration privileges again?

If this is your only suspension, you must pay the reinstatement fee of $150 ($100 if your driver's license and license plates are received by the Bureau prior to the start date of the suspension), and file financial responsibility insurance in the form of an SR-22 or bond. You may do this at any time. Your insurance agent can assist you with any questions concerning the SR-22.

If you have submitted your driver license and license plates to the Bureau to receive the $50 fee reduction, after paying your reinstatement fee and filing SR-22 insurance you may proceed to your local deputy registrar to obtain new license plates and a driver license. If you have further questions, or think you may possibly have other suspensions, you may call the Bureau at (614) 752-7700 for information.

I disagree with the suspension. Is there a hearing or appeals process?

If you would like to challenge the Bureau's Notice of Suspension, you may request a hearing. Your hearing request MUST:

                                    • Be in writing and mailed to:
                                         Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
                                         Attn: Administrative Hearings
                                         P.O. Box 16250
                                         Columbus, Ohio 43216-6520
                                    • Be accompanied by the Notice of Suspension
                                    • include a $30 check or money order for the hearing fee, made payable to "Treasurer, State of Ohio"

The hearing is limited to whether you had insurance or other financial responsibility coverage on the required proof of coverage date, or whether the vehicle meets one of the four exemptions listed in 4509.101(L)(1)(b) of the Ohio Revised Code. The suspension will be stayed (delayed) pending the outcome of the administrative hearing.

Will you reimburse for postage?

No. The cost of including return postage with the Request for Insurance Verification letter would exceed $125,000 per year for the Bureau. Thus, the Bureau decided against this option. The Bureau does provide a self-addressed envelope for the Random Selection Program and has made every effort to minimize any expense involved in responding to the request.

Why does your letter threaten me with suspension?

The language in the Request for Insurance Verification letter was not intended to be threatening or misleading. However, the Bureau wants to ensure that individuals understand that they face suspension of their driving and registration privileges if they fail to respond.