An Overview of § 1788 under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL)

Section 1788 of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) pertains to the minimum coverage needs and insurance exclusions for neighborhood electric vehicles.

Statutory Text

§ 1788. Neighborhood electric vehicles.

(a) Minimum coverage requirements.--A neighborhood electric vehicle that is registered or operated on a highway shall be covered by financial responsibility in the amount of $15,000 for injury to one person in any one accident, in the amount of $30,000 for injury to two or more persons in any one accident and in the amount of $5,000 for damage of property of others in any one accident. The financial responsibility shall be in a form acceptable to the department.

(b) Exemption from other coverages.--For a neighborhood electric vehicle, no person shall be required to purchase and no insurer shall be required to offer or make available any other coverages contained in this chapter.

Key Terms:

Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV)

These are battery-electric vehicles typically designed for low-speed use (around 25 mph), and legally limited to roads with posted speed limits up to 35 mph.

Coverage Requirements

The minimum amounts of liability insurance that a Pennsylvania driver must carry on their automobile insurance policy.

Relevance for Pennsylvanian Drivers:

For drivers of neighborhood electric vehicles, understanding § 1788 of the MVFRL could be crucial for ensuring they carry the appropriate level of insurance. The law ensures they are financially covered for accidents and informs them that outside of the stated coverages, no other insurance is mandated.

Relevance for Pennsylvania Attorneys:

As Pennsylvania attorneys representing clients who own or operate neighborhood electric vehicles, understanding § 1788 of MVFRL is vital. It helps them in advising clients on the legality around insurance coverage, defending cases related to insurance claims and understanding the limits of the vehicle’s coverages, which sets expectations when seeking compensations for clients in the event of accidents.

Advanced Analysis:

The specific language used in § 1788 of the MVFRL is both precise and comprehensive. The use of explicit values for the minimum required coverage leaves no room for interpretation, ensuring lawyers and policyholders can clearly understand these baseline requirements. Furthermore, the language in subsection (b) indicates a categorical rejection of any additional compulsory coverage requirements for NEVs, highlighting the legislature's intent to distinguish these vehicles from standard ones in terms of insurance obligations.

The law’s reference to “financial responsibility shall be in a form acceptable to the department” denotes the state’s discretion in accepting different forms of financial responsibility, implying options beyond traditional insurance. Lastly, the significance of this section’s establishment in 2014 should be noted, showing Pennsylvania’s response to evolving transportation trends and underlining the state's commitment to creating suitable regulations for emerging vehicle categories.

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Von Wooding

Von Wooding

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