Bill allows traffic stops just for insurance check
OKLAHOMA CITY — A state lawmaker wants to allow law enforcement officers along Oklahoma roadways to be able to pull over a motorist just to check if their auto insurance is up to date. To drive a car in Oklahoma, you’re required to have liability insurance.
But some say the proposal is unconstitutional.
Lindsay Gallemore, however, supports it.
She was hit by an uninsured driver last summer who only received a ticket and left her with thousands of dollars in damage, as well as a slight concussion.
“People who don’t have insurance shouldn’t be on the road, period,” she says.
She completely supports House Bill 2525, which would allow authorities to pull over drivers to see if they’re insured.
“I honestly like the idea of running a license plate,” Gallemore says. “Because then you can find out, on top of if they don’t have insurance, if they have warrants out for their arrest.”
The bill’s author, Rep. Steve Martin, says officers already check car tags for other crimes.
“It does not give the law enforcement officer the ability to pull your car over just because he wants to,” Martin says. “It has to actually indicate that you don’t have insurance on his computer. If the system says you’re uninsured, there’s an extremely high probability that you’re uninsured.”
David Tacket, with the group Oklahomans for Liberty, calls the bill a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
He says he interprets the bill to mean officers no longer need probable cause to pull you over and can do so before checking your tag for insurance.
Giving the government too much power, he believes, will result in an abuse of power.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” Tacket says. “We need to take a stand against this bill and say we don’t want the police to be able to pull us over just to be able to check our insurance.”
But Gallemore says protecting the victims should be the state’s first priority.
“Say you get into a wreck and you don’t have insurance and you kill somebody, how would that person feel then,” she asks.
Martin says about one in four Oklahoma drivers are uninsured.
He says checking our license plates, which are in full public view, is not a constitutional violation.
The Oklahoma House Public Safety Committee is expected to consider the legislation on Wednesday.