A bill that would toughen penalties for motorists without vehicle insurance won final legislative approval Monday.

The House voted 85-2 to approve a compromise hammered out by House and Senate members.

The Senate approved the changes 34-0.

State Rep. Barry Ivey, R-Central, sponsor of the legislation, said the higher fines would finance a real time data base between insurance carriers and the state Office of Motor Vehicles.

By doing so, Ivey said, authorities will be able to type in a license plate number and know whether the vehicle is insured.

He said one of the problems now is that motorists buy coverage for one year and cancel it after a month.

“This takes care of that problem,” Ivey said after the vote.

Louisiana has one of the highest rates of uninsured motorists in the nation.

The bill would allow the state to impound vehicles, revoke the car or truck registration or cancel the vehicle’s license plate if the insurance has lapsed.

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