How does Financial Responsibility affect a driver? When the California Legislature adopted California’s Financial Responsibility Laws, it was their intention that ANY PERSON who drives or owns a motor vehicle in the State of California be able to prove that the vehicle is covered by some form of Financial Responsibility.
Driver of a motor vehicle: Any person who drives a motor vehicle in the State of California must be able to prove that the subject vehicle is covered by some form of Financial Responsibility. So if a child drives a parents’ car or if one friend drives the car owned by another friend, it is the driver’s obligation to ensure that the subject vehicle is covered by liability insurance or some other form of Financial Responsibility….. Period! If you drive, you must ensure that the vehicle has appropriate insurance or other coverage.
Owner of a motor vehicle: Any person who owns a motor vehicle in the State of California is mandated to ensure that their vehicle is covered by liability insurance or some other form of Financial Responsibility; even if they were not driving the vehicle at the time of a reportable accident. For example, if the owner of a motor vehicle lends his car to a friend and the friend crashes the car, the owner is equally responsible for proving Financial Responsibility, even though he played no part in the accident.
Also, if an owner of a motor vehicle parks his car, or allows another person to park his car, and that vehicle were to jump out of gear and roll unattended into the side of a house, the owner must be able to prove Financial Responsibility. So, even though no one was driving the car, the owner still must prove Financial Responsibility.
As a Driver how can I make sure a vehicle is covered by Financial Responsibility?
First of all, if you borrow another person’s car, you can simply ask to see the proof of insurance documents available for the car you intend to drive. You can ask the owner to confirm that an insurance policy is in effect and then be prepared to provide evidence of Financial Responsibility if asked to do so by a law enforcement officer.
Additionally, any person can purchase a “non-owners” insurance policy from an auto insurance company which covers then when operating another person’s vehicle.
Additionally, if you have insurance coverage for your own automobile, many times, your policy will cover the financial responsibility that comes when driving another person’s vehicle.
The law provides no protection to a driver who incorrectly believed the car he drove was covered by Proof of Financial Responsibility, when it fact it was not. Ignorance is not a defense.
How can I prevent the suspension of my driver license?
Before the DMV can suspend or revoke a person’s driver license for an issue of Financial Responsibility, the accused driver must be given an opportunity to demonstrate why the action is not warranted. Under the laws of Procedural Due Process, an accused driver is entitled to schedule and conduct an Administrative Hearing before the California Department of Motor Vehicles to present evidence and testimony which rebuts the DMV’s case.
Known as a Financial Responsibility Hearing, these proceedings are complicated and there is very little information available to instruct a driver on how best to defend themselves. Any driver who has a realistic expectation of saving their driver license will require the assistance and representation of a DMV Defense Expert.
The DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates have been fighting and winning Financial Responsibility Hearings before the DMV for many years. We understand the laws governing Financial Responsibility and we can anticipate the steps the DMV will take to suspend your driver license. Don’t let the DMV steal your driver license without a fight. Call CDA today.
More about Financial Responsibility Hearings at the California DMV