An Overview of § 1782 under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL)

Section 1782 of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) covers proof of financial responsibility and legal immunity related to electronic proof of financial responsibility.
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Statutory Text

§ 1782. Manner of providing proof of financial responsibility.

(a) General rule.--Proof of financial responsibility may be furnished by filing evidence satisfactory to the department that all motor vehicles registered in a person's name are covered by motor vehicle liability insurance or by a program of self-insurance as provided by section 1787 (relating to self-insurance) or other reliable financial arrangements, deposits, resources or commitments acceptable to the department.

(b) Nonresident.--The nonresident owner of a motor vehicle not registered in this Commonwealth may give proof of financial responsibility by filing with the department a written certificate or certificates of an insurance company authorized to transact business in the state in which the motor vehicle or motor vehicles described in the certificate are registered or, if the nonresident does not own a motor vehicle, then evidence satisfactory to the department that the person does not own a motor vehicle. The department shall accept the certificate upon condition that the insurance company complies with the following provisions with respect to the policies so certified:

(1) The insurance company shall execute a power of attorney authorizing the department to accept service on its behalf or process in any action arising out of a motor vehicle accident in this Commonwealth.

(2) The insurance company shall agree in writing that the policies shall be deemed to conform with the laws of this Commonwealth relating to the terms of motor vehicle liability policies issued in this Commonwealth.

(c) Default by foreign insurance company.--If any insurance company not authorized to transact business in this Commonwealth, which has qualified to furnish proof of financial responsibility, defaults in any undertakings or agreements, the department shall not thereafter accept as proof any certificate of the company whether theretofore filed or thereafter tendered as proof as long as the default continues.

(d) Financial responsibility identification cards.--Insurers shall provide financial responsibility identification cards to insureds which shall be valid only for the period for which coverage has been paid by the insured. If the insured and insurer both agree, the insurer may issue the financial responsibility identification card solely in electronic format. Financial responsibility identification cards shall disclose the period for which coverage has been paid by the insured and shall contain such other information as required by the Insurance Department. In such instance where the insured has financed premiums through a premium finance company or where the insured is on an insurer-sponsored or agency-sponsored payment plan, financial responsibility identification cards may be issued for periods of six months even though such payment by the insured may be for a period of less than six months. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require the immediate issuance of financial responsibility identification cards where an insured replaces an insured vehicle, adds a vehicle or increases coverages under an existing policy for which a premium adjustment is required.

(e) Immunity.--If an insured chooses to provide proof of financial responsibility to be viewed in an electronic format on an electronic device pursuant to section 1786 (relating to required financial responsibility), a police officer administering in good faith this subchapter shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability which arises from the insured's choice, including the inadvertent viewing of materials on the device other than the proof of financial responsibility, inadvertent deletion of information from the device, inadvertent interception of a communication while in possession of the device and breakage which occurs to the device.

Defining Key Terms:

Within § 1782, several key terms are important to understand.

Nonresident

A vehicle owner not residing in Pennsylvania.

Default

Refers to the failure of an insurance company to comply with the obligations under the MVFRL.

Importance to Pennsylvanian Drivers:

§ 1782 is crucial for drivers in Pennsylvania as it lays out the requirements to be responsible for the costs of accidents they may cause, known as 'financial responsibility.' Drivers must have evidence that their insurance coverage is current and legally compliant, either through physical or electronic proof. This protects drivers from potential legal implications and helps ensure that all involved parties can cover necessary expenses post-accident.

Importance to Pennsylvania Attorneys:

From a legal standpoint, attorneys should understand § 1782 to accurately advise their clients. This section also dictates the requirements for non-resident clients or for clients with foreign insurance companies. Understanding how proof of financial responsibility is shown, the repercussions of defaulting insurance companies, and the usage of electronic proof can impact how attorneys represent their clients.

Advanced analysis of the Specific Language:

In subsection (a), the phrase "or other reliable financial arrangements" might be broadly interpreted, potentially leading to legal disputes over what qualifies as "reliable." Subsection (d) includes an 'exception' at the end, where immediate issuance of financial responsibility identification cards is not required under certain circumstances, which might impact the application of the law as circumstances change. Subsection (e), which addresses the issues of an officer accidentally viewing other materials or deleting information from the device presenting electronic proof, is a clear nod to modern, digital age challenges, indicating a forward-thinking approach in the law.

This section gives a unique sense of immunities granted to officers, which helps address potential issues related to privacy and information security.

This succinct yet intricate analysis of § 1782 provides lawyers with an in-depth understanding of this law section. Armed with this knowledge, attorneys can best guide and represent their clients regarding Pennsylvania's Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law.

About the author
Von Wooding

Von Wooding

Counsel Stack develops grounded language models equipped with research, retrieval, and drafting tools. We offer legal leads, pre-built intelligent applications, and white label solutions.

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