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Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

License Plate Seizure Program's Error Rate Still High; Program Should Be Abolished, Report No. 00-25, December 2000
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  • To help address the problem of uninsured motorists, the 1995 Legislature directed the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to conduct a pilot program in three counties.  This pilot program authorized licensed recovery agents to remove the license plates from vehicles whose owners had not maintained required insurance.  The 1999 Legislature amended the law to allow the program to be expanded if certain conditions were met.  One of these conditions was that OPPAGA verify that the error rate for valid license plates seized by recovery agents was 2% or less.
  • A department study conducted in October 2000 determined that the error rate for seized license plates was 34.8%.  We reviewed the study’s methodology and department data, and concluded that the department’s error rate estimate is reasonable.  Consequently, the criteria for expanding the pilot program have not been met.  The Legislature should abolish the pilot program because of the consistently high error rate, the department’s belief that it will be unable to reduce the error rate to the level required by law, and the inconvenience to drivers whose plates are seized in error.

Which Government Program Summaries contain related information?

Driver License Field Operations

What other OPPAGA-related materials are available?

  • Report No. 04-52 Information Brief: Department Has Taken Steps to Improve the Detection of Uninsured Motorists, published in August 2004.
  • Report No. 02-52 Progress Report: Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Addresses Most Driver License Recommendations, published in October 2002.
  • Report No. 02-35 Progress Report: Legislature Ends Vehicle License Plate Seizure Pilot Program Due to Error Rate, Driver Inconvenience, published in June 2002.
  • Report No. 97-20 Follow-up Report on the Uninsured Motorist Program Administered by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, published in December 1997.
  • Report No. 95-15 Review of the Uninsured Motorist Program, published in December 1995.

Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
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