A bill creating an online insurance verification pilot program is just one step away from becoming law. That’s according to Senate author James A. Williamson who said House Bill 3115 was approved by the full Senate on Thursday and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk.
“We believe about 25 to 35 percent of driver’s are actually on the road without insurance,” said Williamson, R-Tulsa. “When they get involved in an accident, the other motorist is left holding the bag for thousands of dollars. It isn’t right and it’s high time we take some steps to address this costly problem.”
Currently, drivers are required to provide a paper insurance verification form if stopped by police. Williamson explained the problem is that some Oklahomans make their first payment on their insurance, which is enough to get the form, and then drop their policy.
“Even though the form may indicate the driver has insurance, there’s really no feasible way under the current system for police to know if it is really a valid verification form,” Williamson said.
Under HB 3115, an online verification program will enable police to immediately determine whether that driver actually has insurance coverage. If not, the police could seize the driver’s license or remove their license plate. They would be allowed to drive home, but could not legally drive again or have their tag returned until they obtain insurance.
Rep. Ron Peterson is House author of the measure. He said taking a driver’s license or tag away will create a strong incentive to get insurance.
“While some may argue they don’t have insurance because of the expense, the truth is the high number of uninsured motorist force up insurance costs for all of us,” explained Peterson, R-Broken Arrow. “This bill presents us with an opportunity to curb unlawful driving as well as driving down insurance costs.”
Williamson said once signed into law, the legislation would take effect on July 1, 2006, with the online verification program up and running within approximately six months.