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Program flagging uninsured drivers mislabels some, officials ID flaw

OKLAHOMA CITY -  The Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Diversion (UVED) program was put in place to urge more Oklahomans to get and keep insurance on their vehicle.

You may have seen SUVs parked on the shoulder of an interstate, equipped with cameras that scan license plates.

"Those are compared against a database that indicates whether or not they are insured and those photos are sent to us to be reviewed," explained UVED prosecutor Amanda Arnall Couch.

But since the snapshots started, some issues have cropped up. Couch confirms that about one in twenty flagged as uninsured were wrongly designated as violators.

Couch and her team of investigators have also identified the source of the discrepancies; one of those issues stem from commercial vehicles.

"We did not realize so many Oklahomans personally registered their vehicles but commercially insured them because they use them for work," Couch explained.

Commercial vehicle insurance is reported differently so a number of those commercially-insured vehicles were flagged by their system.

"Another huge problem we've discovered is the way the tagging system is done in Oklahoma," Couch said. "At the moment, until July, the tag stays with the car. We very often find that someone will have traded in or sold their car and the new owner has not re registered, so it shows up uninsured in the system because it's in the other person's name."

She says just this week, UVED received a call from an Oklahoman who received notice of being uninsured, but they sold the car back in 2016. But they received the notice because the new owner of the car is yet to re-register the vehicle.

That issue, however, will change effective July 1, when license plates stick with you, and not your car.

Despite the hiccups, Couch has faith in the system that she says is costing taxpayers no money and is now paying for itself, all while keeping you out of court.

"Not only does it keep uninsured drivers off the road, it ensures that these uninsured people are getting insurance," Couch said. "If you're one of those people that, for whatever reason, doesn’t have insurance, we’re not after you to put you in jail or attach something to your driving record which is what would happen if you were pulled over by a state trooper on the side of the road."

If your tag reflects active insurance, Couch says the UVED system discards the image immediately. But if the database flags it as uninsured, the image is then sent to the investigators. Couch says of the hundreds of thousands of tags they've scanned, they have had to review about 24,000.

Every single image that is flagged is personally checked by UVED investigators, who are all former law enforcement. If they find compelling evidence that the car is actually uninsured, it then has to be approved by Couch herself. She makes the decision to invite them to enroll in the program. Enrollees pay a fee and agree to get and keep insurance on the vehicle. Couch emphasizes that the notice and invitation is not a ticket and will not attach to your driving lesson.

Approximately 1,100 people have enrolled in the program.

If you received a notice from UVED but want to correct it or prove you are insured, you can send an email to info@uved.org or call 1-855-474-UVED (8833).

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