Oklahoma Tightens Car Insurance Enforcement Laws

A police officer speaking with a driver he pulled overUninsured drivers in the Sooner State now have more reason to quickly secure a policy. The provisions of a new state law regarding police’s ability to enforce the compulsory Oklahoma auto insurance law will go into effect on the first of November.

After that date, police in the state will be required by law to run vehicle information through the insurance verification database to confirm the authenticity of drivers’ proof of insurance cards when they are involved in traffic stops or accident investigations.

In addition, law enforcement officers who issue citations for driving while uninsured will now be authorized to tow and store the uninsured vehicle, as well as any unattended vehicles found left on the roadway that give the officer probable cause to believe that they are uninsured.

This is according to a legislative update issued by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training.

Oklahoma was estimated by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) to have one of the highest uninsured-motorist rates of any state in 2007. According to the IRC’s numbers, nearly a quarter of the state’s drivers hit the road that year without proper protection.

Although the numbers remain large, they were considered to be even larger before the implementation of the state’s online verification system. In 2005, when legislators began the push for such a system, Rep. Ron Peterson stated that approximately one-third of Oklahoma motorists were uninsured.

Those convicted of violating the compulsory coverage law are subject to a $250 fine or 30 days in jail, or both, plus a suspension of driving privileges.

This is only one in a series of government attempts to crack down on unprotected motorists. Gov. Brad Henry recently advocated for a network of license-plate-scanning cameras to be placed throughout the state in order to spot and fine violators, but funding issues and the lack of a database containing policy information for drivers in all 50 states led to the plan’s demise.

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

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