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License plate scanning program identified thousands of drivers without insurance

OKLAHOMA CITY -- It’s been nearly two months since the state launched the Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Diversion Program.

Prosecutor Amanda Arnall Couch, with the District Attorneys Council, said there are cameras all across the state scanning the tags of Oklahoma drivers.

“It's not exactly a positive distinction to be at the bottom of uninsured motorists for the country, so I'm really hoping to bring that number up. As a matter of fact, the best case scenario would be if I work myself out of work,” said Arnall Couch.

State officials said one out of every four drivers on Oklahoma roads is driving without car insurance.

Arnall Couch said this puts the state last when it comes to uninsured drivers across the nation.

So far, the cameras have identified at least 2,300 uninsured drivers and each of those drivers received a notice in the mail.

“Inside the notice is a picture of the car, a picture of the license and information on where the picture was taken, and information on how they can enroll in our diversion program and avoid going to court,” said Arnall Couch.

The program is already pulling in support from drivers.

“I kind of like it because people who don’t have insurance get in car accidents and we have to pay for it out of our own pocket,” said Dean Fish.

“I have no problem with that because I think that everyone should carry insurance,” said Gardenia Smith.

Smith said she's been in an accident with an uninsured driver and she knows the feeling of having to cover the cost.

“Made me feel horrible because I had to file on my own insurance to get the car fixed,” she said.

The state will send a follow up letter if a driver doesn’t reply.  If after the second letter, the driver still chooses not to reply, then the case goes to the District Attorneys Council for referral. This means the driver could face actual criminal charges and a $250 fine.

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