Uninsured Drivers – How Police Can Catch Them?
Uninsured Drivers – How Police Can Catch Them? If you live in New Hampshire and own a vehicle, you are not required to hold vehicle insurance. Residents, who don’t have insurance, will need to satisfy state authorities regarding personal responsibility to cover costs. Residents of Virginia who do not have motor vehicle insurance must pay an uninsured motorist fee to the state. Mississippi residents may lodge a bond or cash to be allowed to drive without insurance. For residents of all other states and DC; insurance is essential.
Despite the almost universal requirement for motor vehicle insurance, it has been estimated that nearly 30 million Americans drive without insurance. With more than one in every ten drivers managing to drive without insurance, most somehow manage to stay off the radar of driving enforcement authorities.
Driving without insurance is considered to be a ‘secondary violation’. This means that drivers cannot be pulled over on the grounds that the police think that the driver is uninsured. Checks for insurance can only be conducted if there is another reason for police to pull the driver over.
If a driver is found to be driving without insurance, the costs can still be considerable. The fine from first-time convictions can cost a driver between $500 and $1,000. In some states, such as West Virginia, the fine can be even higher – up to $5,000. If the conviction results in a driver’s license being suspended, the cost of reinstating the license is an additional cost. In addition to the direct costs of fines and license reinstatement, the insurance costs will increase due to the conviction. Some insurers may not insure those who have been convicted, while others may raise their rates due to the conviction. Drivers in this situation should consider obtaining a quote from Select Insurance Group, a company that specializes in cheap SR22 insurance for high-risk drivers.
Details regarding which drivers are insured have been held in insurance company databases for many years. Until recently, these databases have not been available to those involved in policing the roads.
More and more police and law enforcement agencies are using automatic license plate recognition software. This software can monitor vehicles; and be linked to databases of uninsured motor vehicle drivers. In some states, this software is already being used. In other states, it may be in place in the near future.
The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCIAA) is an industry group representing auto insurance companies. According to the association, 33 states operate a database of uninsured drivers. The details are available to police, but the police need to make a phone call to the association to check whether any given vehicle has appropriate insurance.
In 2008 Wyoming passed legislation that allowed police to use automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) cameras. These are high-speed cameras that can capture data of motor vehicle registration details. These details can be validated against state databases of insurance, and the police will know almost immediately whether the driver has appropriate insurance to be allowed to drive. Historically, drivers may have tried to present lapsed insurance certificates, or forged documents. As the new system will link directly to insurance company databases, such behavior will no longer prove an effective foil for the uninsured.
PICAA tracks the number of uninsured drivers. The number has been reducing steadily over the last twenty years. As the ALPR system has an effect on driving behavior, the PICAA anticipates that the rate will decrease from the recent level of about 13-14% to below 10%.
In the years since Wyoming passed this legislation, a further eight states have followed suit. Two more states are expected to pass laws allowing the use of ALPR in 2016. Texas introduced an ALPR system (TexasSure) in 2009. At the time, the uninsured driver rate was estimated to be 22%. This rate has decreased to 11% in 2015. Similarly, Michigan police have issued 15% more tickets for uninsured drivers since ALRP was introduced.
While auto insurance may be costly, driving without insurance can be even more expensive, and the chances of being caught while driving without insurance are increasing. It is worth remembering that if insurance costs seem expensive, Select Group Insurance provides a low cost option for high-risk drivers.