Have you been putting off getting insurance on your car?
It is a lot easier for police officers to tell if your vehicle is properly insured. In fact, they do not even need to leave the car to find out. Remember, according to state law, every driver is required to carry proof of insurance.
According to Michigan Live, as of mid-September of last year, police across the state of Michigan can tell whether or not your car is properly insured by running the license plate.
Police officer’s in-car computer can run your license plate and report back whether or not the insurance is valid. Right now, this is only for cars and does not yet apply to motorcycles or commercial vehicles.
Bay County District Magistrate Janice Doner said,
“I know officers just run a plate, see there is no insurance, and then they’re stopping them. I don’t think the public knows about it.”
Here is How It Works
On the 1st and the 15th of every month, the insurance companies submit a report to the Michigan Secretary of State. This report includes details about who is insured.
The main problem is what happens when you get insurance on the 2nd of the month and are pulled over on the 3rd?
That main problem is one of the criticisms. If you have applied for insurance within that that time period, it will show up that your car is not insured.
Driving Without Insurance Punishable
Driving without insurance is considered a misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $200 – $500 dollars and court cost on top of that. In addition, Michigan Live reports that guilty parties may be required to pay a fee a driver responsibility of $500 a year for two years.
If you are pulled over and are insured, but do not have proof of insurance, that is a $143 civil infraction. However, when a person comes to the court with this citation and documentation proving they were indeed insured on the date of the citation, the fine is reduced to $25.
- Between September 13th through March 25, 2014, there were 8,864 citations give out to motorists for no proof of insurance.
- Between September 13th through March 25, 2015, there were 10,009 citations given out.
According to Michigan Radio, there was an increase in about 100 troopers from 2013 – 2014. Those extra troopers might also have a part to play in the increased number of citations.
Should Not Be the Reason for the Stop
The Michigan State Police spokeswomen Shanon Banner had this to say,
“We do have this new ability, but for instance, for the Michigan State Police, our department policy indicates that this electronic insurance verification should not be used as the primary reason for a traffic stop.”
She considers this new policy as the first step towards the investigation process.
What do you think? Should the police be allowed to pull someone over after running their plates and seeing that there is no insurance? Or should there be another reason to initially pull someone over? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.