New System Scans Car Tags To Catch Uninsured Oklahoma Drivers
TULSA, Oklahoma - Oklahoma plans to start scanning car tags to determine which drivers don't have insurance.
The State Insurance Commissioner John Doak said uninsured drivers won't be hard to find.
There are about 2.5 million cars in Oklahoma, and while most are covered by insurance, many are not.
When a state trooper is on the road, they have drivers breaking laws all around them.
The state requires drivers to carry liability insurance, but 600,000 cars in Oklahoma are not covered, Doak said.
"We have the highest uninsured motorist rate in the nation and that means one in four drivers, that are driving with your family and friends, do not have insurance," Doak said.
Doak went along with a trooper to see the problem firsthand, and said by this time next year he hopes more drivers will be covered.
The state plans to start using tag readers to find uninsured cars and then mail the owner a $184 ticket.
The new cameras will go live next year, with 26 cameras in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, and others along busy rural highways.
"If you have insurance, it's not going to impact you at all. It's not going to impact law-abiding citizens in the state of Oklahoma," Doak said. "But it's going to catch folks who know what they're doing is wrong because they sign all kinds of forms when they get a license and get their cars, and their tags that say 'I will provide insurance if I'm driving a car in the State of Oklahoma.'"
Oklahoma requires minimum coverage for each car: $25,000 per person injured or killed and $50,000 per accident total.
The state requires just $25,000 for property damage.
Doak said the actual damage in many accidents is more than that, but the first step is making sure every driver has at least the minimum coverage.
The new system will also eventually give state troopers access to the insurance information so they can instantly verify coverage for people they stop.