Electronic Proof Bill Seeing Fast Push through Ark. Legislature

A bill in Arkansas allowing drivers to electronically display proof of insurance coverage is speeding through the state Legislature as similar proposals in states across the U.S. are moving along the legislative process.

After being filed by Sen. Larry Teague (D-Nashville) just two weeks ago on Feb. 5, senators already passed SB 243 this week by a unanimous vote. The piece of legislation was recommended for passage Thursday morning by the House Committee on Public Transportation.

Under the bill, drivers are allowed to show electronic formats of their policies during traffic stops or at the time of car registration or renewal. All electronic formats are acceptable as long as the electronic device displaying the policy “has sufficient functionality and display capability to provide the information currently required by law,” like the driver’s name and policy number.

While some insurers offer specific PDF formats of the policy card, the Arkansas proposal would allow a driver to take a photo of their policy documents and upload them onto their mobile device to be shown to authorities when needed.

According to the bill, the required policy information should be displayed “as clearly as a paper proof-of-insurance card.”

Electronic Proof Advancing in Other States

In Wyoming, an electronic proof proposal cleared the state Legislature this week after being assigned the name Act 33 and getting signed by Senate president Tony Ross (R-Laramie).

Once signed signed into law by the governor, Act 33 is set to go into effect on July 1.

Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) said earlier this month that legislators in more than 20 states are discussing legislation to allow electronic proof of insurance, including Arkansas, Wyoming and Ohio, the last of which saw its proposal, HB 20, introduced late last month.

Even officials in Oklahoma, which was not listed by PCI, are in talks to allow electronic proof, according to John Doak, the state’s insurance commissioner, who said at a press conference this month that a plan to ease the ways a motorist could prove their coverage would be crucial to the state’s fight against uninsured drivers.

Electronic Proof Currently Active in Several States

Five states passed what PCI calls “e-Card” legislation last year: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana and Minnesota.

Also in 2012, Alabama approved state regulations to allow electronic proof of coverage, while Colorado had similar regulations already in place for the registration process.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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