2007 California Vehicle Code Article 2. Financial Responsibility

CA Codes (veh:16020-16033)

VEHICLE CODE

SECTION 16020-16033




16020.  (a) All drivers and all owners of a motor vehicle shall at
all times be able to establish financial responsibility pursuant to
Section 16021, and shall at all times carry in the vehicle evidence
of the form of financial responsibility in effect for the vehicle.
   (b) "Evidence of financial responsibility" means any of the
following:
   (1) A form issued by an insurance company or charitable risk pool,
as specified by the department pursuant to Section 4000.37.
   (2) If the owner is a self-insurer, as provided in Section 16052
or a depositor, as provided in Section 16054.2, the certificate of
self-insurance or the assignment of deposit letter issued by the
department.
   (3) An insurance covering note or binder pursuant to Section 382
or 382.5 of the Insurance Code.
   (4) A showing that the vehicle is owned or leased by, or under the
direction of, the United States or a public entity, as defined in
Section 811.2 of the Government Code.
   (c) For purposes of this section, "evidence of financial
responsibility" also may be obtained by a law enforcement officer and
court personnel from an electronic reporting system when that system
becomes available for use by law enforcement officers.
   (d) For purposes of this section, "evidence of financial
responsibility" also includes any of the following:
   (1) The name of the insurance company and the number of an
insurance policy or surety bond that was in effect at the time of the
accident or at the time that evidence of financial responsibility is
required to be provided pursuant to Section 16028, if that
information is contained in the vehicle registration records of the
department.
   (2) The identifying motor carrier of property permit number issued
by the Department of the California Highway Patrol to the motor
carrier of property as defined in Section 34601, and displayed on the
motor vehicle in the manner specified by the Department of the
California Highway Patrol.
   (3) The identifying number issued to the household goods carrier,
passenger stage carrier, or transportation charter party carrier by
the Public Utilities Commission and displayed on the motor vehicle in
the manner specified by the commission.
   (e) Evidence of financial responsibility does not include an
identification number in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subdivision
(d) if the carrier is currently suspended by the issuing agency for
lack or lapse of insurance or other form of financial responsibility.




16020.1.  (a) On and after January 1, 2011, Section 4000.37 does not
apply to vehicle owners with a residence address in the County of
Los Angeles at the time of registration renewal.
   (b) On and after January 1, 2011, subdivisions (a) and (b) of
Section 16028 do not apply to a person who drives a motor vehicle
upon a highway in the County of Los Angeles.



16020.2.  (a) On and after January 1, 2011, Section 4000.37 does not
apply to vehicle owners with a residence address in the City and
County of San Francisco at the time of registration renewal.
   (b) On and after January 1, 2011, subdivisions (a) and (b) of
Section 16028 do not apply to a person who drives a motor vehicle
upon a highway in the City and County of San Francisco.



16020.3.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any employer
that owns a vanpool vehicle, as described in paragraph (1) of
subdivision (c) of Section 17149 of the Revenue and Taxation Code,
shall maintain evidence of financial responsibility with respect to
that vehicle in the same form and amount as described in Section
5391.2 of the Public Utilities Code.



16021.  Financial responsibility of the driver or owner is
established if the driver or owner of the vehicle involved in an
accident described in Section 16000 is:
   (a) A self-insurer under the provisions of this division.
   (b) An insured or obligee under a form of insurance or bond that
complies with the requirements of this division and that covers the
driver for the vehicle involved in the accident.
   (c) The United States of America, this state, any municipality or
subdivision thereof, or the lawful agent thereof.
   (d) A depositor in compliance with subdivision (a) of Section
16054.2.
   (e) An obligee under a policy issued by a charitable risk pool
that complies with subdivision (b) of Section 16054.2.
   (f) In compliance with the requirements authorized by the
department by any other manner which effectuates the purposes of this
chapter.


16025.  (a) Every driver involved in the accident shall, unless
rendered incapable, exchange with any other driver or property owner
involved in the accident and present at the scene, all of the
following information:
   (1) Driver's name and current residence address, driver's license
number, vehicle identification number, and current residence address
of registered owner.
   (2) Evidence of financial responsibility, as specified in Section
16020.  If the financial responsibility of a person is a form of
insurance, then that person shall supply the name and address of the
insurance company and the number of the insurance policy.
   (b) Any person failing to comply with all of the requirements of
this section is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine not to
exceed two hundred fifty dollars (0).



16027.  (a) Whenever proof of financial responsibility has been
established under subdivision (a) of Section 16054.2 and a period of
four years has elapsed following the effective date of the
suspension, the cash deposit, or any balance thereof remaining, shall
be refunded to the person entitled thereto, if the director is
satisfied that there are no outstanding or pending claims against the
deposit.
   (b) If the deposit, or any balance thereof, is refundable under
this section but remains unclaimed by the depositor or any other
person entitled thereto for a period of six years from the effective
date of the suspension, the unclaimed deposit shall be transferred to
the Motor Vehicle Account in the State Transportation Fund.




16028.  (a) Upon the demand of a peace officer pursuant to
subdivision (b) or upon the demand of a peace officer or traffic
collision investigator pursuant to subdivision (c), every person who
drives a motor vehicle upon a highway shall provide evidence of
financial responsibility for the vehicle that is in effect at the
time the demand is made.  However, a peace officer shall not stop a
vehicle for the sole purpose of determining whether the vehicle is
being driven in violation of this subdivision.
   (b) Whenever a notice to appear is issued for any alleged
violation of this code, except a violation specified in Chapter 9
(commencing with Section 22500) of Division 11 or any local ordinance
adopted pursuant thereto, the cited driver shall furnish written
evidence of financial responsibility upon request of the peace
officer issuing the citation.  The peace officer shall request and
write the driver's evidence of financial responsibility on the notice
to appear, except when the peace officer is unable to write the
driver's evidence of financial responsibility on the notice to appear
due to an emergency that requires his or her presence elsewhere.  If
the cited driver fails to provide evidence of financial
responsibility at the time the notice to appear is issued, the peace
officer may issue the driver a notice to appear for violation of
subdivision (a).  The notice to appear for violation of subdivision
(a) shall be written on the same citation form as the original
violation.
   (c) Whenever a peace officer, or a regularly employed and salaried
employee of a city or county who has been trained as a traffic
collision investigator, is summoned to the scene of an accident
described in Section 16000, the driver of any motor vehicle that is
in any manner involved in the accident shall furnish written evidence
of financial responsibility upon the request of the peace officer or
traffic collision investigator.  If the driver fails to provide
evidence of financial responsibility when requested, the peace
officer may issue the driver a notice to appear for violation of this
subdivision.  A traffic collision investigator may cause a notice to
appear to be issued for a violation of this subdivision, upon review
of that citation by a peace officer.
   (d) (1) If, at the time a notice to appear for a violation of
subdivision (a) is issued, the person is driving a motor vehicle
owned or leased by the driver's employer, and the vehicle is being
driven with the permission of the employer, this section shall apply
to the employer rather than the driver.  In that case, a notice to
appear shall be issued to the employer rather than the driver, and
the driver may sign the notice on behalf of the employer.
   (2) The driver shall notify the employer of the receipt of the
notice issued pursuant to paragraph (1) not later than five days
after receipt.
   (e) A person issued a notice to appear for a violation of
subdivision (a) may personally appear before the clerk of the court,
as designated in the notice to appear, and provide written evidence
of financial responsibility in a form consistent with Section 16020,
showing that the driver was in compliance with that section at the
time the notice to appear for violating subdivision (a) was issued.
In lieu of the personal appearance, the person may submit by mail to
the court written evidence of having had financial responsibility at
the time the notice to appear was issued.  Upon receipt by the clerk
of that written evidence of financial responsibility in a form
consistent with Section 16020, further proceedings on the notice to
appear for the violation of subdivision (a) shall be dismissed.




16029.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a violation of
subdivision (a) of Section 16028 is an infraction and shall be
punished as follows:
   (a) Upon a first conviction, by a fine of not less than one
hundred dollars (0) and not more than two hundred dollars (0),
plus penalty assessments.
   (b) Upon a subsequent conviction, occurring within three years of
a prior conviction, by a fine of not less than two hundred dollars
(0) and not more than five hundred dollars (0), plus penalty
assessments.
   (c) (1) At the discretion of the court, for good cause, and in
addition to the penalties specified in subdivisions (a) and (b), the
court may order the impoundment of the vehicle for which the owner
could not produce evidence of financial responsibility in violation
of subdivision (a) of Section 16028.
   (2) A vehicle impounded pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be
released to the legal owner of the vehicle or the legal owner's agent
if all of the following conditions are met:
   (A) The legal owner is a motor vehicle dealer, bank, credit union,
acceptance corporation, or other licensed financial institution
legally operating in this state.
   (B) The legal owner or the legal owner's agent pays all towing and
storage fees related to the seizure of the vehicle.
   (C) The legal owner or the legal owner's agent presents
foreclosure documents or an affidavit of repossession for the
vehicle.
   (3) (A) A legal owner or the legal owner's agent that obtains
release of the vehicle pursuant to paragraph (2) shall not release
the vehicle to the registered owner of the vehicle or any agents of
the registered owner, unless the registered owner is a rental car
agency, except upon presentation of evidence of financial
responsibility, as defined in Section 16020, for the vehicle.  The
legal owner or the legal owner's agent shall make every reasonable
effort to ensure that the evidence of financial responsibility that
is presented is valid.
   (B) Prior to relinquishing the vehicle, the legal owner may
require the registered owner to pay all towing and storage charges
related to impoundment and any administrative charges authorized
under Section 22850.5 that were incurred by the legal owner in
connection with obtaining custody of the vehicle.
   (4) A vehicle impounded under paragraph (1) shall be released to a
rental car agency if the agency is either the legal owner or the
registered owner of the vehicle and the agency pays all towing and
storage fees related to the seizure of the vehicle.
   (5) A vehicle impounded under paragraph (1) shall be released to
the registered owner of the vehicle only upon presentation of
evidence of financial responsibility, as defined in Section 16020,
for that vehicle, and evidence that all towing and storage fees
related to the seizure of the vehicle are paid.
   This paragraph does not apply to a person, entity, or agency who
is entitled to release of a vehicle under paragraph (2) or (4) and is
either:
   (A) The registered and the legal owner and is described in
subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2).
   (B) The registered owner or legal owner and is described in
paragraph (4).
   (d) It is the intent of the Legislature that fines collected
pursuant to this section be used to reduce the number of uninsured
drivers and not be used to generate revenue for general purposes.
   (e) (1) Except as provided in this subdivision, the court shall
impose a fine that is greater than the minimum fine specified in
subdivision (a) or (b), and may not reduce that fine to the minimum
specified fine authorized under those provisions, unless the
defendant has presented the court with evidence of financial
responsibility, as defined in Section 16020, for the vehicle.  In no
event may the court impose a fine that is less than the minimum
specified in subdivision (a) or (b), or impose a fine that exceeds
the maximum specified fine authorized under those subdivisions.  In
addition to the fine authorized under subdivision (a) or (b), the
court  may issue an order directing the defendant to maintain
insurance coverage satisfying the financial responsibility laws for
at least one year from the date of the order.
   (2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the imposition of
the fine required under subdivision (a) or (b) is mandatory upon
conviction of a violation of subdivision (a) of Section 16028 and may
not be waived, suspended, or reduced below the minimum fines, unless
the court in its discretion reduces or waives the fine based on the
defendant's ability to pay.  The court may direct that the fine and
penalty assessments be paid within a limited time or in installments
on specified dates.  The Legislature hereby declares that it is in
the interest of justice that the minimum fines set forth in
subdivisions (a) and (b) for these offenses be enforced by the court,
as provided in this subdivision.



16030.  (a) Except as provided in subdivision (c), any person who
knowingly provides false evidence of financial responsibility (1)
when requested by a peace officer pursuant to Section 16028 or (2) to
the clerk of the court as permitted by subdivision (e) of Section
16028, including an expired or canceled insurance policy, bond,
certificate of self-insurance, or assignment of deposit letter, is
guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding seven
hundred fifty dollars (0) or imprisonment in the county jail not
exceeding 30 days, or by both that fine and imprisonment.  Upon
receipt of the court's abstract of conviction, the department shall
suspend the driving privilege, effective upon the date of conviction,
for a period of one year.  The court shall impose an interim
suspension of the person's driving privileges pursuant to Section
13550, and shall notify the driver of the suspension pursuant to
Section 13106, and all driver's licenses in the possession of the
driver shall be surrendered to the court pursuant to Section 13550.
Any driver's license surrendered to the court pursuant to this
section shall be transmitted by the court, together with the required
report of the conviction, to the department within 10 days of the
conviction.  The suspension may not be terminated until one year has
elapsed from the date of the suspension and until the person files
proof of financial responsibility, as provided in Chapter 3
(commencing with Section 16430) except that the suspension shall be
reinstated if the person fails to maintain proof of financial
responsibility for three years.
   (b) However, in lieu of suspending a person's driving privileges
pursuant to subdivision (a), the court shall restrict the person's
driving privileges to driving that is required in the person's course
of employment, if driving of a motor vehicle is necessary in order
to perform the duties of the person's primary employment.  The
restriction shall remain in effect for the period of suspension
otherwise required by subdivision (a).  The court shall provide for
endorsement of the restriction on the person's driver's license, and
violation of the restriction constitutes a violation of Section 14603
and grounds for suspension or revocation of the license under
Section 13360.
   (c) This section does not apply to a driver who is driving a motor
vehicle owned or leased by the employer of the driver and driven in
the course of the driver's employment with the permission of the
employer.



16033.  No public entity or employee, agent, or any person or
organization authorized under Section 4610 to endorse receipts or
validate registration cards or potential registration cards, is
liable for any loss, detriment, or injury resulting, directly or
indirectly, from any of the following:
   (a) Failure to request evidence of financial responsibility.
   (b) Failure to notify a vehicle owner that an insurance policy has
been terminated.
   (c) The discretionary failure to cancel, suspend, or revoke a
vehicle registration when an insurance policy has been terminated.
   (d) Inaccurately recording that evidence under Section 16028 or as
a result of the driver producing false or inaccurate financial
responsibility information.

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