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4/6/2005
Texas Bill Would Require Transponders in All Cars
A Texas state representative wants all cars to have electronic transponders.

Texas Rep. Larry PhillipsA bill introduced in the Texas House of Representatives by Larry Phillips, Vice-Chairman of the Transportation Committee, would require electronic transponders to be built-into state automobile inspection stickers. This new device would be initially used to allow an roadside verification of every passing vehicle's insurance information. A car with expired insurance information would be mailed a $250 ticket.

Each transponder would transmit the vehicle's VIN, insurance policy number, license plate number and any other information the DMV requires. The legislation creates a database of every Texas automobile insurance policy to allow the checks. The transponder would also operate with Texas toll roads.

Anyone who does not receive or respond to the mailed ticket would have his license and vehicle registration suspended. North Texas-based Texas Instruments is a leading manufacturer of RFID chips.

Article Excerpt:
H.B. No. 2893
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT relating to a motor vehicle liability insurance compliance program; providing civil and criminal penalties.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Chapter 601, Transportation Code, is amended by adding Subchapter N to read as follows:
SUBCHAPTER N. MOTOR VEHICLE LIABILITY INSURANCE COMPLIANCE PROGRAM


Sec. 601.501. ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM. (a) The department shall establish a motor vehicle liability insurance compliance program.
(b) In establishing the program, the department may request and obtain advice and assistance from any other agency of this or another state, including the Texas Department of Insurance and the Texas Department of Transportation.
(c) The department may contract with one or more public or private entities to administer the program.
Sec. 601.502. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS. (a) The motor vehicle liability insurance compliance program shall require that, on or after the effective date of this subchapter, when an insurance company authorized to write motor vehicle liability insurance in this state or its designated agent issues or renews a motor vehicle liability insurance policy that provides the minimum coverages required by this chapter to a person who is required to maintain
insurance under this chapter and who is the holder of a Texas driver's license or a Texas commercial driver's license, or terminates or cancels such a policy, the insurance company or its designated agent shall furnish to the department or administering entity the following information:
(1) the insurance policy number;
(2) the effective date of the policy;
(3) the make, model, license plate number, and vehicle identification number of each vehicle covered by the policy; and
(4) any other information reasonably required by the department.
(b) The required information relating to an insurance policy that is issued or renewed shall be provided to the department or administering entity not later than the third business day after the date of issuance or renewal.
(c) The required information relating to an insurance policy that is terminated or canceled shall be provided to the department before the effective date of the termination or
cancellation.
Sec. 601.503. ELECTRONIC REPORTING. (a) Each insurance company or its designated agent shall provide information required under Section 601.502 through an electronic system in the format specified by the department or administering entity.
(b) The format specified by the department or administering entity under Subsection (a) should be compatible with insurance industry standards. The format must allow the information to be submitted individually or in bulk.
(c) Any proprietary information provided by an insurance company or an agent under this section remains the property of the insurance company or the agent.
Sec. 601.504. COMPUTER DATABASE. From the information provided by insurance companies or their designated agents under this subchapter, the department or administering entity shall develop and maintain a computer database to be used in the administration and enforcement of this subchapter.
Sec. 601.505. CONFIDENTIALITY OF INFORMATION. (a) Information in the computer database is confidential and not subject to required public disclosure under Chapter 552, Government Code.
(b) The department or administering entity shall develop procedures to enable law enforcement officers, and other state or local governmental entities that enforce this Act, to have access to the information in the computer database. The department or administering entity shall maintain the confidentiality of the information in making information available to other entities authorized to receive the information.
(c) The department or administering entity shall periodically update the database to identify new insurance policies and to determine whether previous insurance policies are still in
effect.
(d) A person commits an offense if the person:
(1) discloses information in the computer database to a person who is not authorized to receive the information; or
(2) permits a person described by Subdivision (1) to view, read, or copy the information.
(e) An offense under Subsection (d) is a state jail felony.
Sec. 601.506. CERTAIN FEES AND CHARGES PROHIBITED. An insurance company or designated agent subject to the motor vehicle liability insurance compliance program may not assess or collect from the policyholder of a motor vehicle liability insurance policy subject to this section a charge or fee because the company or agent is required to comply with any part of the program.
Sec. 601.507. SPECIAL INSPECTION CERTIFICATES. (a) Commencing not later than January 1, 2006, the department shall issue or contract for the issuance of special inspection certificates to be affixed to motor vehicles that are inspected and found to be in proper and safe condition under Chapter 548.
(b) An inspection certificate under this section must contain a tamper-resistant transponder, and at a minimum, be capable of storing:
(1) the transponder's unique identification number; and
(2) the make, model, and vehicle identification number of the vehicle to which the certificate is affixed.
(c) In addition, the transponder must be compatible with:
(1) the automated vehicle registration and certificate of title system established by the Texas Department of Transportation; and
(2) interoperability standards established by the Texas Department of Transportation and other entities for use of the system of toll roads and toll facilities in this state.
Sec. 601.508. CIVIL PENALTY. (a) If an electronic reading device detects and identifies a motor vehicle to which a special inspection certificate is affixed that is not covered by a motor vehicle liability insurance policy that provides the minimum coverages required by this chapter, on verification of the information and issuance of a written notice of noncompliance, the
registered owner of the vehicle is liable to the state for the payment of a civil penalty in the amount of $250.
(b) In connection with the same vehicle, until the 60th day after the date of issuance of a written notice under Subsection (a), the registered owner is not liable for the payment of another civil penalty under this subchapter if that vehicle is subsequently detected and identified by an electronic reading device and determined not to be covered by an appropriate motor vehicle liability insurance policy.
Sec. 601.509. WRITTEN NOTICE TO VEHICLE OWNER. (a) The department or administering entity shall send a written notice of the civil penalty to the registered owner of the vehicle at that owner's address as shown in the insurance database by first class mail not later than the 30th day after the date the owner's vehicle was determined not to be in compliance with the insurance requirements of this chapter.
(b) The notice shall state that the registered owner of the vehicle is:
(1) required to pay the full amount of the civil penalty not later than the 30th day after the date the notice was sent; or
(2) entitled to appeal the imposition of the civil penalty.
Sec. 601.510. PAYMENT OF CIVIL PENALTY. A person paying a civil penalty under this subchapter shall mail or electronically submit payment to the department at its headquarters in Austin or to the administering entity at its address as stated in the notice.
Sec. 601.511. HEARING REQUEST. If, not later than the 15th day after the date on which the person receives notice under Section 601.509, the department receives at its headquarters in Austin, or the administering entity receives, in writing, including a facsimile transmission, or by another manner prescribed by the department or administering entity, a request that a hearing be held, a hearing shall be held as provided by this subchapter.
Sec. 601.512. EFFECT OF HEARING REQUEST. A request for a hearing stays the imposition of the civil penalty until the date of the final determination of the appeal.
Sec. 601.513. HEARING DATE. (a) A hearing requested under Section 601.511 shall be held not earlier than the 11th day after the date on which the person requesting the hearing is notified of the hearing unless the parties agree to waive this requirement.
(b) The hearing shall be held not later than the 30th day after the date the department or administering entity received the request for the hearing.
Sec. 601.514. RESCHEDULING. (a) A hearing shall be rescheduled if, before the fifth day before the date scheduled for the hearing, the department or administering entity receives a
request for a continuance from the person who requested the hearing. Unless both parties agree otherwise, the hearing shall be rescheduled for a date not earlier than the fifth day after the date
the department or administering entity receives the request for the continuance.
(b) A person who requests a hearing under this subchapter may obtain only one continuance unless the person shows that a medical condition prevents the person from attending the rescheduled hearing, in which event one additional continuance may be granted for a period not to exceed 10 days.
Sec. 601.515. STATE OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS. (a) A hearing under this subchapter shall be heard by an administrative law judge employed by the State Office of Administrative Hearings.
(b) The State Office of Administrative Hearings shall provide for the stenographic or electronic recording of the hearing.
Sec. 601.516. HEARING LOCATION. A hearing under this subchapter shall be held:
(1) at the location designated by the State Office of Administrative Hearings; or
(2) with the consent of the person and the department or administering entity, by telephone conference call.
Sec. 601.517. HEARING. (a) The only issues that must be proved at a hearing by a preponderance of the evidence are whether on the date that the motor vehicle was determined to have been operated without being covered by a motor vehicle liability insurance policy that provides the minimum coverages required by this chapter:
(1) the motor vehicle owned by the person was not required by this chapter to be covered by such a policy;
(2) the motor vehicle owned by the person was covered by such a policy; or
(3) the motor vehicle was not owned by the person who requested the hearing.
(b) The burden of proof in a hearing is on the person who requested the hearing.
(c) If the administrative law judge finds in favor of the person who requested the hearing, the judge shall vacate the imposition of the civil penalty.
(d) If the administrative law judge does not find in favor of the person who requested the hearing, the judge shall:
(1) sustain the imposition of the civil penalty; and
(2) order the person to pay the amount of the civil penalty in the time and manner required by the department or administering entity.
(e) The decision of the administrative law judge is final when issued and signed.
Sec. 601.518. FAILURE TO APPEAR. A person who requests a hearing and fails to appear without just cause waives the right to a hearing and the imposition of the civil penalty is final.
Sec. 601.519. NOTICE REQUIREMENTS. (a) Notice required to be provided by the department or administering entity under this subchapter may be given by telephone or other electronic means. If notice is given by telephone or other electronic means, written notice must also be provided.
(b) Notice by mail is considered received on the fifth day after the date the notice is deposited with the United States Postal Service.
Sec. 601.520. APPEAL FROM ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING. (a) The department or administering entity or the person whose civil penalty is sustained may appeal the decision by filing a petition not later than the 30th day after the date the administrative law judge's decision is final. The administrative law judge's final decision is immediately appealable without the requirement of a motion for rehearing.
(b) A petition under Subsection (a) must be filed in a county court at law in the county in which the person resides or, if there is not a county court at law in the county, in the county
court. If the county judge is not a licensed attorney, the county judge shall transfer the case to a district court for the county on the motion of either party or of the judge.
(c) If the department or administering entity files an appeal under this section, a copy of the petition must be sent by certified mail to the person at the address indicated in the records
of the department or administering entity and to the State Office of Administrative Hearings at that agency's headquarters in Austin.
(d) A person who files an appeal under this section shall send a copy of the petition by certified mail to the department or administering entity and to the State Office of Administrative
Hearings at each agency's headquarters in Austin.
(e) The copy of a petition sent by the department or administering entity or by the person must be certified by the clerk of the court in which the petition is filed.
(f) If the department is a party to an appeal, a district or county attorney may represent the department in the appeal.
Sec. 601.521. REVIEW; ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE. (a) Review on appeal is on the record certified by the State Office of Administrative Hearings with no additional testimony.
(b) On appeal, a party may apply to the court to present additional evidence. If the court is satisfied that the additional evidence is material and that there were good reasons for the
failure to present it in the proceeding before the administrative law judge, the court may order that the additional evidence be taken before an administrative law judge on conditions determined by the court.
(c) There is no right to a jury trial in an appeal under this section.
(d) An administrative law judge may change a finding or decision made in the original hearing because of the additional evidence and shall file the additional evidence and any changes, new findings, or decisions with the reviewing court.
(e) A remand under this section stays the imposition of the civil penalty.
Sec. 601.522. TRANSCRIPT OF ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING. (a) To obtain a transcript of an administrative hearing, the party who appeals the administrative law judge's decision must apply to the State Office of Administrative Hearings.
(b) On payment of a fee not to exceed the actual cost of preparing the transcript, the State Office of Administrative Hearings shall promptly furnish both parties with a transcript of
the administrative hearing.
Sec. 601.523. NONPAYMENT OF CIVIL PENALTY; OFFENSE. (a) A person liable for payment of a civil penalty under Section 601.508, other than a person who requests a hearing under Section 601.511, who fails or refuses to pay the full amount of the civil penalty
commits an offense.
(b) A person ordered to pay a civil penalty under Section 601.517, other than a civil penalty that is not sustained on appeal, who fails or refuses to pay the full amount of the civil penalty commits an offense.
(c) Each failure or refusal by a person under Subsection (a) or (b) is a separate offense.
(d) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor Venue for the offense is in the justice precinct in which the defendant resides.
(e) The court in which a person is convicted of an offense under this section shall also collect the amount of the civil penalty imposed on the person. A court that collects a civil
penalty:
(1) may retain 10 percent of the amount of the penalty for deposit in the county treasury; and
(2) shall forward the remainder to the department in the form and manner prescribed by the department.
Sec. 601.524. SUSPENSION OF DRIVER'S LICENSE AND VEHICLE REGISTRATION. (a) The department shall suspend the driver's license and vehicle registrations of a person who fails or refuses to timely pay a civil penalty imposed on the person under this
subchapter.
(b) A suspension under this section is for a six-month period beginning on the delinquency date of the civil penalty.
Sec. 601.525. USE OF MONEY. Money collected under this subchapter shall be deposited in a separate account and may only be used by the department in the enforcement of this chapter.
SECTION 2. This Act takes effect September 1, 2005.



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