OKLAHOMA CITY – A new system designed to catch Oklahomans driving without insurance is now in effect, and is doing its job.
Last year, officials with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety estimated that roughly 600,000 Oklahomans were driving without valid car insurance.
“We’ve got one in four drivers driving around without insurance in Oklahoma,” Deputy Insurance Commissioner Buddy Combs told News 4 in June. “That’s a huge problem for everybody who purchases insurance.”
In response to the issue, lawmakers approved a bill that would make it easier for law enforcement officers to catch uninsured drivers.
The program, which is the first of its kind in the country, launched Nov. 1.
Officials say the cameras scan all license plates, then the tags are compared to a database that lists vehicles with liability insurance. The images of any vehicle not on the list are then forwarded to the state's Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Diversion office for further review.
So far, officials say the program has identified 2,100 possible violators in its first few weeks.
Authorities say anyone who receives a letter and can't prove the vehicle was insured when the photo was taken will face a $174 fine.
“You’re going to pay $174 along with providing a new copy of your insurance, signing an agreement for two years to abide by the law. You’re not going to have to go to court. You’re not going to have to pay a lot more money. This is such a better program for you,” said Deputy Insurance Commissioner Buddy Combs.