Tuesday, May 19, 2015

State Senate Adopts Senator Tarr’s Repeal of Rainy Day Surcharge on Drivers

Strips Insurance Charges from $5 Fine for Failure to Use Headlights in Rain

Boston- May 19, 2015   The Massachusetts Senate took action to repeal the new state law that triggers an insurance surcharge for motorists cited under the new headlights and wipers law.

An amendment to the state budget offered by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) will eliminate the multi-year auto insurance surcharge included in a new law designed to enhance safety by requiring drivers to use headlights whenever they turn their windshield wipers on.

“We are not adding to public safety by penalizing drivers with an onerous insurance bill,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “The Senate unanimously adopted my amendment and I am glad that the motoring public knows that the Senate is on their side.”

“The intent of this law was always to improve public safety and promote safe driving practices during harsh weather conditions. By eliminating the insurance surcharge, the original intent of the law is maintained without severely penalizing our constituents. I am pleased that the Senate was able to unanimously come together on this important issue,” said Assistant Minority Leader Richard Ross (R-Wrentham).

The Senate took up the proposal as part of its budget debate on the $38 billion spending plan.  The Tarr amendment was the first to be adopted of the 942 amendments filed.

"I am very pleased that the Senate voted to repeal the insurance surcharge,” said Donald Humason, Minority Whip (R-Westfield). “While preserving the aim of improving public safety for everyone on the road, we were able to avoid imposing yet another unnecessary fine on residents of the Commonwealth."

The headlight and wiper law is still in effect, a ticket for a violation is set as a $5 moving violation.  The Tarr amendment, if approved by Governor Baker, will remove the insurance premium requirement currently included in state law.