Oregon suspending licenses

What business is it of Oregon to do a random sampling of who has auto insurance and then suspending licenses?

We did an exploration of a rather odd practice of the Department of Motor Vehicles in Oregon. They send out 52,000 of these surveys every year. They pick them at random.

They send them out and if you don’t send them back they send out a warning. If you don’t respond they will suspend your driver’s license.

Imagine all the reasons you might not respond. Maybe you don’t look through your junk mail well enough.

An awful lot of Oregonians are finding themselves with suspended driver’s licenses which then have to be reinstated. That costs money. In some cases people find their cars being towed. They are being accused of crimes like “driving while suspended”.

It’s a ridiculous program and somebody needs to rescind it and let the DMV know that this is not good customer service and it is not solving any problems.

“For more Lars click here”

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to LinkedIn Post to Reddit

Posted by at 05:03 | Posted in Measure 37 | 46 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Sally

    If you don’t have insurance they should impound your car immediately. No warnings. Ever.

    They need to check in the field, though, and not through the mail.

    • Steven

      That’s asset forfeiture and I am against it. There is never any justification for it without due process of law.

      Having had my vehicle towed for ‘driving uninsured’ when I was infact insured, I can assure you, between the $264 fine, the $200 fee to the Sheriff’s office to release my vehicle and $180 tow fee, had it not been for a relative…I would have lost my car.

      They only hold the cars for 5 days before they initiate the lien process to sell the car. By the time you have your day in court, your car is gone! The tickets all give a court date two weeks out. If you plead not guilty, it’s another week before you get a trial by judge. A jury trial can be an additional two weeks.

      My wife was subjected to having the car towed, then being searched by a male cop and treated like a criminal because she couldn’t find her insurance card (In was in the center console but she missed it). $644 we get our car back with extensive front end damage caused by the tow company because the driver was new and had no clue how to use his equipment. And we had no recourse.

      Driving uninsured in the State of Oregon is a VIOLATION not a CRIME. There is an important distinction between the two.

      The voters in Oregon voted a while back to abolish asset forfeiture (although it has been challenged by bureaucrats who disliked the loss of revenue it caused) because it was unconstitutional.

      Let me give you this scenario…And before you cry that it’s just hypothetical…it’s happened…

      You get pulled over at 0245. You’re out because you’re coming home from taking a loved one to the ER. Cop asks for license, registration and Proof of Insurance.

      You open your glove box to retrieve your registration and insurance card…but your insurance card is not in there. You tell the officer that you are insured but that you’ve misplaced the card.

      You were pulled over for having a brake light out last week and the officer didn’t return all your info. Maybe your husband needed the policy number and forgot to put the card back in the car…

      For what ever reason, you don’t have it. Now, a few years back, LEO’s in Oregon got the ability to check about insurance in the field. I’ve yet to see it used. The DMV theoretically has the ability to verify insurance too.

      You don’t have your proof of insurance on you and that’s all that matters. The cop asks you to step out of the car, hands you a ticket and tells you he’s towing your car for driving uninsured. You’ve committed no crime under Oregon Law, but your sure as heck treated as if you had. Now, in addition to the ticket, you have to pay a fee to the Sheriff’s office in order to get them to release YOUR car in addition to what ever the tow company charges for the tow and impound.

      If you can’t get your car back in 5 days, then they will start the process to get a lien so they can sell your car. And you get nothing.

      Think you can prove in court that your not guilty. Under Oregon Law, failure to provide proof of insurance is prima face evidence that you are uninsured, same as if you forget your wallet and when pulled over you don’t have your DL on you. Oh, and they can tow your car for that too.

      The police are under NO obligation to check your insurance status in the field, nor your DL status in the field. If you can’t show it, they can assume that you don’t have it and tow your vehicle.

      That is something that we should all have a problem with. I know that there have been several times that I’ve gone somewhere and realized I forgot my wallet. I’ve had my vehicle stolen and lost my Proof of Insurance AND my wallet.

      Sorry, I can’t agree with towing a car for no insurance.

      Oh, and Lars…Driving while suspended is not a crime but is a violation. Felony driving while suspended/revoked is a crime.

  • eagle eye

    They even send out a warning, eh? I get lots of junk mail, too. Somehow I manage to find the credit card bills, mortgage stuff, property tax bill every year, insurance bills (actually, a lot of this online now but you get the point).

    If this is the gripe against government — DMV checking on insurance — we are pretty lucky. Lars is really scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    • I agree

      Not to often with you, I agree. Everytime I renew my registration I need to write the company and my insurance policy # down. All the state has to do is cross reference those to see if people have insurance.

    • jim karlock

      Why do you like HAVING TO PROVE YOUR INNOCENCE?

      (Admittedly it is such a progressive idea.)

      Maybe you would like to fill out a obesity form before being allowed to buy food?
      Sieg Heil!

      Thanks
      JK
      \

      • a retired professor

        It’s not proving one’s innocence, it’s being allowed the privilege of driving. Like flying: I have to show a ticket and an ID.

        By the way, the allusion to the Nazis is both vicious and appallingly stupid. You should be ashamed of yourself, you dirty thing.

        • jim karlock

          And you should be ashamed of yourself for thinking it is OK for the government to randomly demand you prove your innocence with ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE.

          I’ll bet you also think it’s OK for the government to randomly search people’s homes.

          Just so you don’t miss it: this is fascist behavior of the type millions of people died to stop. And you are advocating it. sieg heil.

          Thanks
          JK

          • JTT

            so are you then opposed to the Arizona “papers please” law?

          • jim karlock

            YES, if there were such a law.

            My understanding is that once a contact has been legally made, such as a traffic stop, then police are free to ask about immigration status. Just like in many other states and the Feds.

            Do you know otherwise (I have not studied the actual law.)

        • Steve Plunk

          Driving has become such an integral part of daily life why do we still call it a privilege rather than a right? If we allow government to determine what rights we have and what privileges they control what might be the next privilege they decide to control? Driving is a right not a privilege.

          Jim Karlock is absolutely correct in that Oregon citizens should not be forced to prove innocence but the state should always carry the burden of guilt. It amazes me how liberals act concerned about some rights, like nude dancing as freedom of speech, but ignore others like the ability to drive to work, school, or worship. It is hypocrisy but I suppose the first person who can’t drive to get their medical marijuana will sway their opinion.

        • Steve Plunk

          BTW professor, Why call someone a “dirty thing”? While the use of Nazi imagery is not my thing it’s not impolite conversation. We put up we Nazi talk concerning Bush and Cheney and Jim mentioned in the appropriate context of being forced to show your ‘papers please’.

          I think you should be ashamed of yourself for digressing back into bullying. Raise your game.

          • a retired professor

            Why call him a “dirty thing”? In the first place, he in essence called me a Nazi (“Sieg Heill!”) That alone makes my response pretty mild. And you call me a bully?

            In the second place, and more seriously, it IS dirty to compare a trivial reporting requirement, however misguided or not it may be, to anything having to do with the Nazis. The Nazi talk is “not impolite”? Well, yes it is impolite, and a lot worse.

            By the way, I always objected when such comparisons were made about Bush and Cheney (with much more reason, I might add; they did invade a country on the grounds that it might be a threat to us; bombing the hell out of a country, then invading and ruining it, is a much different matter than sending a survey.)

            Oh, I also defend Obama now when people on the right call him a Nazi or Stalinist.

          • Steve Plunk

            professor,

            I don’t see a post of yours coming before Jim’s comment so I don’t see how he could be accused of calling you a Nazi. If I am mistaken please correct otherwise your justification fails. His response to your earliest post had no mention of Nazi’s.

            Many of us question whether or not it is trivial to have a government agency presume guilt and force citizens to prove otherwise. Has ‘innocent until proven guilty’ been replaced by ‘administratively guilty until you can prove your innocence’? That slippery slope shifts power away from citizens toward the state. Individual liberty is the foundation of western civilization. From the Magna Carta to our own Constitution we have celebrated the victory of the powerless individual over the omnipotent state. Why should we allow that power to shift back? Why would liberals support that shift? For that matter why would liberals create forbidden words or imagery? Nazi is merely shorthand for totalitarian government power and the abuses that come from it.

            So this is not trivial and I can’t see where anyone called anybody else a Nazi before your insult. An apology is owed by you to him.

          • a retired professor

            He used the “sieg heil” on somebody else and I called him on it, then he pulled it on me. If “dirty thing” didn’t apply the first time — I don’t see why not — it certainly applied the second time. I certainly don’t him an apology.

            Again, comparing the reporting requirement — whether it is trivial, which I think it is, or even if it’s not — to anything having to do with the Nazis — is just plain deranged, as well as viciously stupid.

          • jim karlock

            then you have no problem with asking people to put a “trivial” effort into proving legal residency in response to a random letter.

            Thanks
            JK

  • Anonymous

    This is only worth the DMV doing if it accomplished something other than busy work for bureaucrats.

    Does it?

    I doubt it. It’s probably one of these things that sounds good but doesn’t pan out in implementation.

    No one has the responsibility for checking so it becomes a whole lotta work that does nothing but annoys and harasses the public while accomplishing little or nothing towards insurance compliance.

    But we have no “Debt of Measuring Merit” in government services and so there are endless tasks in the mission creeping government which provide no or little corresponding public benefit.

  • a retired professor

    “What business is it of Oregon to do a random sampling of who has auto insurance and then suspending licenses?”

    Seems to me this is very much Oregon’s business!

    • jim karlock

      Don’t you just look forward to having to prove your innocence of every law, or face fines? You could spend a few hours each day filling out the forms:
      Prove you didn’t jay walk today
      Prove you didn’t shoplift today.
      Prove you didn’t show you ignorance of basic rights today.

      Thanks
      JK

      • Anonymous

        Count yourself lucky that they don’t pull people over for random sanity checks!

      • valley p

        “Don’t you just look forward to having to prove your innocence of every law, or face fines?”

        Proof of insurance is not proof of innocence, because there hasn’t been any charge. And you are belittling what the Nazis did by comparing innocuous state actions to a level of human depravity and evil you are obviously not familiar with. I suggest a visit to Auschwitz to clear your head.

        Steve P writes: “Driving has become such an integral part of daily life why do we still call it a privilege rather than a right? ”

        I guess you are in favor of eliminating drivers licenses then? Age restrictions? Eyesight tests? As well as personal insurance. Maybe traffic lights and stop signs should be next on your list.

        But jut so we know, where do you draw the line on this new “right?”

        • jim karlock

          *Dean Apostle:* Proof of insurance is not proof of innocence, because there hasn’t been any charge.
          *JK:* No, they just suspend your license without a judicial proceeding.

          Very Naziesque. No surprise that Portland’s progressives support this outrage. They are right at home.

          Thanks
          JK

          • valley p

            No, not “Nazieque.” Naziesque would be denial of driving permits based on racial or gender or political identity, not based on absence of insurance. Seriously dude, go visit Auschwitz before you invoke nazis for every minor inconvenience your democratically elected government foists on you. Maybe then you will stop trivializing what they did.

            And spell my name right.

          • Steven

            You do understand that suspending someone’s drivers license because they don’t respond to a survey is depriving them of Due Process? I know that’s an amazing concept to folks, but we do have something called Due Process of Law.

            They are not being given the oppurtunity to face their accusers, answer the charges or even prove their innocence before losing their license. Good Lord? What happens if someone never even received the survey (it does happen that the USPS loses mail, as unbelievable as that sounds), should they have their licenses suspended?

            And what of someone who has a drivers license but does not have insurance because the only vehicle he/she drives is for work, owned and insured by their employer? That was me last year. I rode the bus to and from work, but my job required me to drive. I drove a company vehicle with company insurance.

            Suspending my license for no insurance…HORSEAPPLES! The law does not require you to have insurance to have a DL. It requires that the vehicle you are driving is insured!

          • jim karlock

            *You do understand that suspending someone’s drivers license because they don’t respond to a survey is depriving them of Due Process? I know that’s an amazing concept to folks, but we do have something called Due Process of Law.*
            *JK:* Dean is progressive. He doesn’t believe in individual rights, only collective rights.

            Thanks
            JK

          • valley p

            So the ACLU doesn’t care about individual rights? Progressives who support the right to abortion only support it for groups, not individual women? Progressives who argued against torture didn’t care if this was done to individuals, only groups? Progressives who marched for civil rights only cared about African-Americans in general, not specific individuals being denied the right to vote because of the group they were in?

            Where do you get this stuff Jim? From Rupert?

            I don’t live in Portland, but I certainly “understand” basic freedoms. There is no constitutional right to drive a car absent insurance on that car. If there was we would know it by now.

            As for this “due process” issue, I just don’t buy it. It is more like a random drunk driving net. If cops stop cars randomly to check for drunk drivers, doesn’t everyone stopped have to show they are not drunk? No one has been charged, but everyone is checked in some manner. I may not like the hassle of being checked up on, but I won’t argue they don’t have the right to do so.

            As for Steven, can’t we assume that the DMV uses vehicle registration rather than driver’s licenses as its means for contacting car owners on the insurance question?

          • jim karlock

            Are you are completely unable to understand the concept that having to prove your innocence in response to a random letter is anti liberty?

            How about random searches of houses?

            How about random stops of drivers to check their papers?

            How about random stops of people to check their papers.

            How about random letters to people demanding proof of citizenship?

            As to the bunch at the ACLU, get back to us when they recognize that the bill of rights has 10 sections. Including property rights, states rights, and the second amendment.

            It is truly unbelievable how intrusive you think government should be.

            Thanks
            JK

          • valley p

            Are you incapable of understanding that its not “proof of innocence” unless you are charged with something? A letter asking for proof of insurance is just that. Prove you still have insurance. You have not been accused of not having insurance. you have not been accused of a crime. Capiche?

            Random searches of houses for what? See the 4th amendment.

            Random stops of drivers to ask for what papers? You must think this is Arizona.

            There is constitutional protection for property rights other than the takings clause. I don’t think the ACLU has any problem with that clause, do you?

            It is unbelievable that you support torture but don’t want in intrusive government.

          • jim karlock

            *Dean:* Are you incapable of understanding that its not “proof of innocence” unless you are charged with something? A letter asking for proof of insurance is just that. Prove you still have insurance.
            *JK:* A letter asking for proof of legal residency is just that. Prove you are here legally.

            *Dean:* You have not been accused of not having insurance.
            *JK:* You have not been accused of being here illegally.

            *Dean:* you have not been accused of a crime.
            *JK:* you have not been accused of a crime.

            *Dean:* Capiche?
            *JK:* Get it – its police state. Its fascist!
            Its also a double standard to say it is OK to demand proof that you are complying with one law that you happen to agree with and it not OK in the other case. But that’s the foundation of the modern progressive movement – really police state wrapped in caring terms.

            *Dean:* There is constitutional protection for property rights other than the takings clause. I don’t think the ACLU has any problem with that clause, do you?
            *JK:* Unless the government wants to take YOUR land an give it to Walmart – that is OK.
            *JK:* Unless the government wants to take the value out of your land without paying you.
            Tell me where the ACLU has been on these cases. Tell us where YOU are on these cases?

            Thanks
            JK

          • valley p

            “But that’s the foundation of the modern progressive movement – really police state wrapped in caring terms.”

            Talk to your friends on the right about the Arizona immigration law, their support for Bush-Cheney torture, and their being anti right to choose. But come to think of it, none of this is wrapped in even a pretense of caring. Its wrapped in fear, which is the emotion that does lead to ceding of indiividual rights.

            “Tell me where the ACLU has been on these cases. Tell us where YOU are on these cases?”

            Can’t speak for the ACLU. Where I am is happy with the constitutional protection as is. Meaning that if the government wants my land for a public purpose, it has to pay me fair compensation. Now defining public purpose? Its a mixed bag. Should a private utility be able to condemn my land to build a pipeline to deliver a private product to someone else? Philosophically no. but as a practical matter probably yes.

          • jim karlock

            *Deam Apostle:* Talk to your friends on the right about the Arizona immigration law,
            *JK:* I have. They tell me that it is ONLY allows the AZ police to enforce the existing federal law. ONLY if they have stopped someone for some other, legal, cause. They cannot stop someone because of the new law. It only allows (requires??) Legal residency questions AFTER A LEGALLY JUSTIFIED CONTACT for some other cause.

            *Deam Apostle:* their being anti right to choose.
            *JK:* I keep telling them that this position is losing elections and that if they dropped it and the gay stuff they would win Oregon’s big cities and take over the state. Even before me, they have started to realize this and you and your political buddies are probably in deep political do do starting with the next election .

            *Deam Apostle:* Its wrapped in fear, which is the emotion that does lead to ceding of indiividual rights.
            *JK:* Fear & Emotion!! That is the main stay of the democrats: Global cooling. Global warming. Cuddly (killer) polar bears. Climate careening out of control. Mass extinctions. Gun control. Peak oil. Most environmental issues spewed by the multinational, multimillion dollar green sham corporations like the Sireea Club. Its all bull shat. And the progressives swallow it hook-line & sinker. (Mostly because they are ignorant of basic economics and basic science. They will do anything to save the earth except study science.)

            *Deam Apostle:* “Tell me where the ACLU has been on these cases. Tell us where YOU are on these cases?”
            *JK:* The government should NOT have the power to take land an give it to any private party, excepting easements for utilities.
            *JK:* The government must pay to reduce the value of your land.

            Any more questions about basic rights? Would you like a lesson on free speech or self defense?

            *Deam Apostle:* Can’t speak for the ACLU. Where I am is happy with the constitutional protection as is.
            *JK:* So you are comfortable with:
            the government being able to take your land and give it to Walmart or Costco.
            The government telling you that you can’t do anything with your land.
            The drug laws.
            And no-nock warrants, dynamic entry, killing innocents and all that.
            Shame on you!

            *Deam Apostle:* Meaning that if the government wants my land for a public purpose, it has to pay me fair compensation.
            *JK:* Tell us how much compensation your neighbors got for having their land zoned open spaces (or other zones that prohibit building.) Remind us what they zoned YOUR land to.

            *Deam Apostle:* Now defining public purpose? Its a mixed bag.
            *JK:* If they cause a loss of value, they should pay. Too bad you cannot see that.

            Thanks
            JK

        • Steve Plunk

          Another reductio ad absurdum argument. When will you learn how childish to reduce others statements to the absurd level? When you don’t have a reasonable argument it’s best to remain silent. My argument is reasonable, the citizens should have the presumption of a right to operate a motor vehicle. Is that so hard to understand?

          • Anonymous

            See karlock above. He calls anyone a Nazi — vp, the prof — who doesn’t agree with him on the rather trivial matter of checking for car insurance. You call the prof a bully? You call vp childish?

            You think checking for car insurance equates to what the Nazis did? The best that can be said is that you are deranged.

          • jim karlock

            It wasn’t about agreeing with me – it was about punishing people failure to prove their innocence.

            It is truly telling that many of Portland’s progressives can’t understand basic freedoms.

            Thanks
            JK

          • valley p

            Why is it reductio ad absurdum for me to take your position to a logical conclusion, but not reduction for Jim K to ascribe naziism to a rather innocuous public policy? In fact you defended his use of that term.

            Could it be Steve, that you only find an argument lacking when it counters your own position? Or am I being reductio again?

          • Steve Plunk

            valley p,

            Your arguments take my positions and reduce them to an absurd level. I would not be opposed to drivers licenses or insurance. I argue the state should recognize the citizen’s right to do what is common and necessary for modern daily life. It’s not that I find your argument lacking because it’s contrary to mine, I just find it lacking.

  • Cecil

    This too complicated a matter for the State to enforce by mail. Also, a couple of important details are not addressed in Lars’ piece: Are only registered car owners’ asked to provide proof, or does the questionaire only query those with ODLs? An ODL does not require proof of insurance, but ownership of a vehicle does. And then there is the small matter of being gone on an extended vacation only to come back home and finding out your ODL is suspended; is that fair? It gets even more complicated than that. Suppose the car is registered to two people, and for some reason the owner who gets the DMV letters tosses them away. Next thing you know the uncontacted owner is suspended for no other reason than he/she ddn’t see the mail. Lots of other scenarios like these make it clear that this is bad practice by the State of Oregon.

    • Brad Rydman

      Ownership of a vehicle does not require insurance. Insurance is required only when said vehicle is used on public streets, and is a requirement when renewing one’s vehicle registration. Simply owning a vehicle does not require insurance.

      That being said, when one considers that virtually all local police departments have direct access to the insurance provider’s databases already and are able to determine whether someone has insurance on their vehicle simply by running a check on the license plate, it seems like a waste of DMV resources to devote any time or effort towards this, in my humble opinion….

  • sancheez

    yeah most of us can save huge on our car insurance by making few simple changes find how much you can save http://bit.ly/d4HSCH

  • Cecil

    The registered owner of a vehicle must provide proof of insurance before he/she can renew the vehicle’s tags. Hence, owning a car means you have to have it insured, and failure to do so is at the very least an infraction.

    • mary’s opinion

      If one drives a vehicle on public streets and highways, it must have a current registration and current tags. In order to renew the registration/tags for a two year period, the vehicle must be insured. It is my understanding that most or all auto policies are written for just six months. So, a vehicle could have current registration/tags for two years but insurance for only six months. Isn’t this how we came to have the “uninsured driver” clause in auto insurance policies? I’m probably more against this practice by the DMV than for it.

    • Brad Rydman

      I’ve got several cars in my back yard that I own, yet do not insure because I do not drive them. It is not a crime, misdemeanor or otherwise to simply own an unlicensed vehicle. Insurance is only required by law if you operate the vehicle on public roads. Look it up….

  • Tere Galligan

    Wake up! If it starts with checking your auto insurance for no reason, then they will progress. Read “Overton Window” by Glenn Beck. We are almost there.

  • Anonymous

    By the way, on the matter of throwing around the N-word, I heard Lars Larson on radio compare a school district to those judged at Nuremberg whose defense was that they were just obeying orders. What the school district had done was throw away used books that according to state law should be discarded after a certain number of years. Yes, Lars apparently thought they should have disobeyed the law, Nazi resistor-like, on the grounds that they would not blindly obey orders. I was shocked by such a sickening comparison. This is a guy who has something seriously deranged about him.

  • kick those communists out

    kick those communists out NOVEMBER 2. All of them

  • Barbiej42

    I have never heard of this till today. A customer came into my shop and said he was just pulled over for not responding to a letter that he did not receive. Another way for the government or State of Oregon to get money..

  • Barbiej42

    I have never heard of this till today. A customer came into my shop and said he was just pulled over for not responding to a letter that he did not receive. Another way for the government or State of Oregon to get money..

Stay Tuned...

Stay up to date with the latest political news and commentary from Oregon Catalyst through daily email updates:

Prefer another subscription option? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, become a fan on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Twitter Facebook

No Thanks (close this box)