House Bill 3115 was passed into law in May 2006. Oklahoma joined the list of 30 states that have passed legislation that provides electronic insurance verification. The new law gives law enforcement the ability to verify the current status of an Oklahoma resident’s insurance policy. This can be done at any time during an accident or traffic stop. The law was effective as of January 1, 2009. Implementation was delayed because the system was only 60% accurate at December 2008. The real-time verification of insurance was implemented by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol in May 2009. Five other law enforcement agencies joined the program. The data-base will be available to all law enforcement agencies starting July 1, 2009 in Oklahoma.
What does this all mean for drivers in Oklahoma? There are two types of drivers. Both those with valid insurance coverage and those without. There are no more days when you can go to an insurance office and purchase a liability policy for your car. You can also get an insurance verification. If you cancel the policy, you will still have proof of liability insurance which shows coverage for five additional months. The law enforcement can enter the tag number to get a report on the car and status of the insurance. If the premium payment was lost, late enough to cause the insurance to lapse or there was no liability insurance on the car, the driver will receive a report back detailing the car’s status and will be fined $211.50. Their driver’s license will be suspended and the tag will be removed. The car may also be impounded. The vehicle cannot be moved until it is able to be moved by a licensed driver. If none of these drivers are available, the car can be impounded. The cost to restore your driving privileges will be $300.00. You will need to show proof of valid liability insurance. This is what caused all the hassle, expense, and headache.
Let’s now look at some good news that drivers who keep liability insurance on personal vehicles have. This new law has a benefit for you. According to the law, one in four Oklahoma drivers who drive on roads, streets and highways do not have liability insurance. The Department of Public Safety confirms this number. The Department of Public Safety verified that the electronic insurance verification data database contained approximately 3.3 millions personal autos registered with the State of Oklahoma. They found that about 2.6 Million personal autos had current, comprehensive liability coverage when they checked their data-base. This means that around 700,000 vehicles drive on Oklahoma roads without having the required liability coverage. There has been a decline in uninsured drivers in all of the 30 States which have implemented electronic insurance verification. The premium for uninsured motorist coverage in every State bordering Oklahoma is lower than in Oklahoma. The reason this happens is because Oklahoma has more accidents involving an uninsured driver than any other State. The insurance companies that do business in Oklahoma have been increasing their rates to pay for uninsured motorist coverage because drivers without liability insurance are causing them to be more expensive. With more drivers carrying insurance, the number of uninsured drivers will decrease and rates for uninsured driver coverage should begin to fall. Oklahoma drivers will be able to save on their car insurance premiums.
Oklahoma will see the full implementation of this law. We can expect to see an increase in insurance premiums, and less financial or emotional hardships affecting Oklahoma drivers. Although there will be some challenges, Oklahoma will be safer to live in and drive in.