Owning or driving an automobile requires a high level of responsibility, something that should not be taken lightly. An important element of that responsibility is to ensure that you, or other drivers of your vehicle, always have proper documentation readily available should you be involved in an auto accident or stopped by police in regards to a violation of the highway traffic act.
Consider the number of vehicles on roads these days, the speed people travel and the increasing danger of distracted or impaired driving which can all pose a threat every time you get behind the wheel or your car. There is of course also our own bad driving habits. We understand that you may be stopped or involved in an accident for various reasons, many of which may not be your fault. Nevertheless, not having the documents you need could still lead to charges or fines.
The following is what you should expect to provide (and need to ensure are kept in your vehicle or carried by the driver) at all times:
You cannot legally operate a vehicle without a valid Drivers License. It needs to be carried by the driver at all times when driving your own vehicle or an automobile belonging to any other person or company. Expect to have your drivers license number checked and verified by an officer anytime you are pulled over or involved in an accident of any degree. Information pertaining to previous driving offenses, as well as your current driving class and any conditions of your license are easily accessible to police.
You are required to provide proof of ownership for the vehicle being operated. While it is not against the law to drive a vehicle owned by another person you will still have to provide proof of who is the registered owner. Expect to be questioned in regards to what your relationship is to the owner and why you are driving their automobile. Your vehicle registration may include a portion for transfer of ownership at the time of selling, this does not need to be provided and is not something you want a car thief to have any access to within your vehicle. We recommend carrying this document on your person as opposed to leaving it available in the car.
Proof of Insurance
Equally important as the previous documents as it validates that the vehicle driven meets the legal requirement to carry liability insurance coverage. Your insurance company provides a liability slip for each vehicle insured. This slip typically lists the named insured, vehicle description including VIN, the name of insurer and policy number, and both the effective and expiry date of coverage. It is important to remember to replace your slip with the new one provided upon each renewal term, an expired slip may still result in a fine or charge as you have not provided valid proof of insurance currently in place.
Both the driver and the owner of any vehicle need to abide by these requirements for documentation. As an owner, you need to provide the driver with the proof he or she may need to produce regarding the ownership and insurance of the vehicle. The drive is also equally responsible to ensure that they have all required documents before operating the vehicle.
We recommend reviewing this list of documents with each driver in your household or any other driver who may operate your vehicle. Make sure everyone knows what they need to have with them and where to locate the documents needed. Once you have all the necessary documentation you are ready to hit the road, safe driving everyone!
Article Written by Darcy Johnson
Erie Mutual Insurance Manager – Sales, Marketing & Business Development
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