The ACLU of Indiana has filed a class-action lawsuit against the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles over the treatment of people previously caught driving without insurance.
If you get caught driving without auto insurance you can expect to pay steep fines and have the Bureau of Motor Vehicles suspend your license, but you might not know that even after you get your license back you spend five years on the "Previously Uninsured Motorist Registry."
According to the BMV, drivers on that uninsured registry "are selected at random and sent a request for proof of financial responsibility."
If you fail to prove that you have auto insurance, your license is suspended again.
The ACLU of Indiana believes the BMV practice violates due process guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.
"The people don't have to have insurance,” said Kenneth Falk, Legal Director for the ACLU of Indiana. “They may not be driving anymore. They may not own a vehicle and therefore don't have to have insurance, but if they don't have insurance, they are then suspended again."
That's exactly what happened to the lead plaintiff, Ms. White, in the ACLU's new class action lawsuit. Two years after getting her license back, Ms. White received a letter saying she failed to prove she had insurance. She said she didn’t have insurance because she had to get rid of her car after it broke down. She said she wasn’t even able to drive at the time.
"I feel what they done to me was wrong,” White said. “I didn't have a car, and I didn't have any insurance. Why have any insurance if you don't have a car?"
According to the ACLU ,roughly 4,000 drivers have been selected from the uninsured registry and about 2,000 have had their licenses suspended.
Falk said the ACLU is asking the BMV to reinstate those suspended licenses and clear the suspension for driving records.
White said she bought a new car and purchased insurance before being notified of her newly suspended license. As she waits to get it back, she is relying on friends to get herself and her four kids around.
"I just thank God for understanding friends, friends that care about me and my kids," White said. “What they done was wrong, and it's just not right. I'm sure the 4,000 other people here in Indiana probably feel the same way."
Fox59 News contacted the BMV, but a spokesperson said they will not comment on pending lawsuits.