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S. 2455 (is) To amend the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 to prevent the canceling of annuities to certain divorced spouses of workers whose widows elect to receive lump sum payments. ...


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                                                       Calendar No. 568

105th CONGRESS

  2d Session

                                S. 2454

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL

To provide for competition between forms of motor vehicle insurance, to 
permit an owner of a motor vehicle to choose the most appropriate form 
  of insurance for that person, to guarantee affordable premiums, to 
provide for more adequate and timely compensation for accident victims, 
                        and for other purposes.

_______________________________________________________________________

                           September 10, 1998

            Read the second time and placed on the calendar





                                                       Calendar No. 568
105th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 2454

To provide for competition between forms of motor vehicle insurance, to 
permit an owner of a motor vehicle to choose the most appropriate form 
  of insurance for that person, to guarantee affordable premiums, to 
provide for more adequate and timely compensation for accident victims, 
                        and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           September 9, 1998

 Mr. McConnell (for himself, Mr. Moynihan, Mr. Lieberman, Mr. Nickles, 
  Mr. Grams, and Mr. Gorton) introduced the following bill; which was 
                          read the first time

                           September 10, 1998

            Read the second time and placed on the calendar

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To provide for competition between forms of motor vehicle insurance, to 
permit an owner of a motor vehicle to choose the most appropriate form 
  of insurance for that person, to guarantee affordable premiums, to 
provide for more adequate and timely compensation for accident victims, 
                        and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Auto Choice Reform Act of 1997''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds that--
            (1) the costs of operating a motor vehicle are excessive 
        due in substantial part to the legal and administrative costs 
        associated with the resolution of claims under the tort 
        liability insurance system;
            (2) the tort liability insurance system often results in--
                    (A) the failure to provide compensation 
                commensurate with loss;
                    (B) an unreasonable delay in the payment of 
                benefits; and
                    (C) the expenditure of an excessive amount for 
                legal fees;
            (3) the incentives of the tort liability insurance system 
        for motor vehicles are distorted, and result in--
                    (A) significant fraud in the claims process, which 
                exacerbates the level of distrust of many individuals 
                in the United States with respect to the legal process 
                and the rule of law;
                    (B) significant, wasteful, fraudulent, and costly 
                overuse and abuse of scarce health care resources and 
                services;
                    (C) unbearable cost burdens on low-income 
                individuals, imposing on them the Hobson's choice of 
                driving on an unlawful, uninsured basis or foregoing 
                essential needs, such as food and adequate shelter;
                    (D) significant reductions in, access to, and 
                purchases of, motor vehicles, which--
                            (i) damage the economic well-being of many 
                        low-income individuals; and
                            (ii) cause unnecessary harm to a critical 
                        component of the economy of the United States;
                    (E) significant deterioration of the economic well-
                being of the majority of major cities in the United 
                States through the imposition of a massive tort tax 
                that--
                            (i) places a disproportionate burden on 
                        urban residents; and
                            (ii) contributes to the abandonment of the 
                        cities by many taxpayers who are able to 
                        achieve substantial after-tax savings on 
                        automobile insurance premiums by moving to 
                        adjacent suburban communities; and
                    (F) significant inability to achieve market-based 
                discounts in insurance rates for owners of safer cars, 
                which reduces the level of safety for drivers and 
                passengers of motor vehicles;
            (4) insurance to indemnify individuals for personal 
        injuries arising from motor vehicle collisions is frequently 
        unavailable at a reasonable cost because of the potential 
        liability for third-party tort claims;
            (5) a system that gives consumers the opportunity to insure 
        themselves and that separates economic and noneconomic damages 
        for the purposes of purchasing insurance would provide 
        significant cost savings to drivers of motor vehicles;
            (6) a system that enables individuals to choose the form of 
        motor vehicle insurance that best suits their needs would--
                    (A) enhance individual freedom;
                    (B) reduce the cost of motor vehicle insurance; and
                    (C) increase average compensation in the event of 
                an accident; and
            (7) a system that targets and emphasizes the scourge of 
        those individuals who drive under the influence of drugs or 
        alcohol will further deter such dangerous and unlawful conduct.

SEC. 3. PURPOSE.

    The purpose of this Act is to allow consumers of motor vehicle 
insurance to choose between--
            (1) an insurance system that provides substantially the 
        same remedies as are available under applicable State law; and
            (2) a predominately first-party insurance system that 
        provides for--
                    (A) more comprehensive recovery of economic loss in 
                a shorter period of time; and
                    (B) the right to sue negligent drivers for any 
                uncompensated economic losses.

SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Accident.--The term ``accident'' means an unforeseen or 
        unplanned event that--
                    (A) causes loss or injury; and
                    (B) arises from the operation, maintenance, or use 
                of a motor vehicle.
            (2) Add-on law.--The term ``add-on law'' means a State law 
        that provides that persons injured in motor vehicle accidents--
                    (A) are compensated without regard to fault for 
                economic loss; and
                    (B) have the right to claim without any limitation 
                for noneconomic loss based on fault.
            (3) Economic loss.--The term ``economic loss'' means any 
        objectively verifiable pecuniary loss resulting from an 
        accident, including--
                    (A) reasonable and necessary medical and 
                rehabilitation expenses;
                    (B) loss of earnings;
                    (C) burial costs;
                    (D) replacement services loss;
                    (E) costs of making reasonable accommodations to a 
                personal residence to make the residence more habitable 
                for an injured individual; and
                    (F) loss of employment, and loss of business or 
                employment opportunities, to the extent recovery for 
                such losses is allowed under applicable State law.
            (4) Financial responsibility law.--The term ``financial 
        responsibility law'' means a law (including a law requiring 
        compulsory coverage) penalizing motorists for failing to carry 
        defined limits of tort liability insurance covering motor 
        vehicle accidents.
            (5) Injury.--The term ``injury'' means bodily injury, 
        sickness, disease, or death.
            (6) Insurer.--The term ``insurer'' means--
                    (A) any person who is engaged in the business of 
                issuing or delivering motor vehicle insurance policies 
                (including an insurance agent); or
                    (B) any person who is self-insured within the 
                meaning of applicable State law.
            (7) Intentional misconduct.--
                    (A) In general.--Except as provided in subparagraph 
                (B), the term ``intentional misconduct'' means 
                conduct--
                            (i) with respect to which harm is 
                        intentionally caused or attempted to be caused 
                        by a person who acts or fails to act for the 
                        purpose of causing harm, or with knowledge that 
                        harm is substantially certain to result from 
                        that action or failure to act; and
                            (ii) that causes or substantially 
                        contributes to the harm that is the subject of 
                        a claim.
                    (B) Clarification.--For purposes of this paragraph, 
                a person does not intentionally cause or attempt to 
                cause harm--
                            (i) solely because that person acts or 
                        fails to act with the understanding that the 
                        action or failure to act creates a grave risk 
                        of causing harm; or
                            (ii) if the act or omission by that person 
                        causing bodily harm is for the purpose of 
                        averting bodily harm to that person or another 
                        person.
            (8) Motor vehicle.--The term ``motor vehicle'' means a 
        vehicle of any kind required to be registered under the 
        provisions of the applicable State law relating to motor 
        vehicles.
            (9) No-fault motor vehicle law.--The term ``no-fault motor 
        vehicle law'' means a State law that provides that--
                    (A) persons injured in motor vehicle accidents are 
                paid compensation without regard to fault for their 
                economic loss that results from injury; and
                    (B) in return for the payment referred to in 
                subparagraph (A), claims based on fault including 
                claims for noneconomic loss, are limited to a defined 
                extent.
            (10) Noneconomic loss.--The term ``noneconomic loss'' means 
        subjective, nonmonetary losses including pain, suffering, 
        inconvenience, mental suffering, emotional distress, loss of 
        society and companionship, loss of consortium, hedonic damages, 
        injury to reputation, and humiliation.
            (11) Occupy.--The term ``occupy'' means, with respect to 
        the operation, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle, to be in 
        or on a motor vehicle or to be engaged in the immediate act of 
        entering into or alighting from a motor vehicle before or after 
        its use for transportation.
            (12) Operation, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle.--
                    (A) In general.--The term ``operation, maintenance, 
                or use of a motor vehicle'' means occupying a motor 
                vehicle.
                    (B) Exclusions.--The term ``operation, maintenance, 
                or use of a motor vehicle'' does not include--
                            (i) conduct within the course of a business 
                        of manufacturing, sale, repairing, servicing, 
                        or otherwise maintaining motor vehicles, unless 
                        the conduct occurs outside of the scope of the 
                        business activity; or
                            (ii) conduct within the course of loading 
                        or unloading a motor vehicle, unless the 
                        conduct occurs while occupying the motor 
                        vehicle.
            (13) Person.--The term ``person'' means any individual, 
        corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, society, 
        joint stock company, or any other entity, including any 
        governmental entity.
            (14) Personal protection insurance.--The term ``personal 
        protection insurance'' means insurance that provides for--
                    (A) benefits to an insured person for economic loss 
                without regard to fault for injury resulting from a 
                motor vehicle accident; and
                    (B) a waiver of tort claims in accordance with this 
                Act.
            (15) Replacement services loss.--The term ``replacement 
        services loss'' means expenses reasonably incurred in obtaining 
        ordinary and necessary services from other persons who are not 
        members of the injured person's household, in lieu of the 
        services the injured person would have performed for the 
        benefit of the household.
            (16) Resident relative or dependent.--The term ``resident 
        relative or dependent'' means a person who--
                    (A) is related to the owner of a motor vehicle by 
                blood, marriage, adoption, or otherwise (including a 
                dependent receiving financial services or support from 
                such owner); and
                    (B)(i) resides in the same household as the owner 
                of the motor vehicle at the time of the accident; or
                    (ii) usually makes a home in the same family unit 
                as that owner, even though that person may temporarily 
                live elsewhere.
            (17) State.--The term ``State'' means any State of the 
        United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of 
        Puerto Rico, Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, American 
        Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the 
        Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands, and any other 
        territory or possession of the United States.
            (18) Tort liability.--The term ``tort liability'' means the 
        legal obligation to pay damages for an injury adjudged to have 
        been committed by a tort-feasor.
            (19) Tort liability insurance.--The term ``tort liability 
        insurance'' means a contract of insurance under which an 

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