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Driving without insurance is a liability

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- North Dakota and Minot Air Force Base require motorists to have, at a minimum, motor vehicle liability insurance. Failure to comply can cost vehicle operators hundreds of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses, points on their insurance, license revocation and suspension of on-base driving privileges. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Wesley Wright)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- North Dakota and Minot Air Force Base require motorists to have, at a minimum, motor vehicle liability insurance. Failure to comply can cost vehicle operators hundreds of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses, points on their insurance, license revocation and suspension of on-base driving privileges. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Wesley Wright)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- What does every motor vehicle in North Dakota have in common? They must, at a minimum, have motor vehicle liability insurance.

Although driving a vehicle without liability insurance is against the law in North Dakota, as well as on Minot Air Force Base, the base has seen an increase in uninsured vehicles.

"More MAFB people have been caught without insurance in the past month than in all of 2006," said Mark Mittelstadt, 5th Security Forces Squadron. "There has been an alarming increase in the number of individuals cited for failure to provide proof of insurance."

Each time a vehicle enters the base, security personnel may ask for proof of liability insurance.

"If you don't have proof of insurance in your vehicle while on base, you'll probably be cited and be required to inform your commander or first sergeant about the citation," said Mittelstadt. "If your vehicle doesn't have insurance, you'll be required to remove it from the base immediately. If you drove without insurance, the 5th Mission Support Group commander has the authority to revoke your base driving privileges for a one-year period."

North Dakota has even stiffer penalties for drivers failing to provide proof of liability insurance while driving off base.

"If you're caught driving without insurance off base, you'll probably be cited and have to post a $300 promise-to-appear bond," said Mr. Mittelstadt. "A guilty verdict or plea will require a $150 minimum fine and $50 for a new driver's license. Your new driver's license will require you to maintain proof of liability insurance on file with the police department for a three-year period. At the end of three years, you'll have to pay another $50 to get a standard driver's license."

Traffic points may also be assessed as high as six points to an individual's driving record in North Dakota.

"You'll also have to face the on-base consequences when you inform your first sergeant or commander of your off-base violation," said Mr. Mittelstadt. "The 5th MSG commander will again most likely revoke your base driving privileges for one year."

An insurance policy must be in effect prior to an accident or citation and the proof of insurance must reflect the correct dates.

"Getting car insurance after an accident or citation is too late," said Mr. Mittelstadt. "Those who gamble with insurance or any law should remember the law of averages. Gamble too often and eventually you'll lose. Paying for insurance may cost a bit, but it's a lot cheaper than the consequences of getting caught driving without insurance."
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