Police in Michigan can now run the plates of a vehicle to determine whether or not it is insured.
Drivers on the streets of Michigan now have more incentive to ensure that they obtain the legally required auto insurance for their vehicles, as police have just been armed with a new and much easier way to identify uninsured motorists.
Simply by running a vehicle’s plates, police are able to know whether or not there is an insurance policy present.
The technology will become available to police officers in mid-September and it will be usable by law enforcement throughout Michigan. An in-car computer lookup of the license plate of a vehicle will let the police know if it has proper auto insurance coverage. According to Tory Cunningham, the Bay County Undersheriff, “When they run a license plate on an in-car computer, it will tell them if the driver of the vehicle has insurance that’s valid or not.” That said, he pointed out that the first rollout of the system will not include commercial vehicles or motorcycles.”
This new auto insurance checking technology will make it easier for police to issue accurate tickets.
It will help to identify people who are driving without the minimum required insurance coverage, but at the same time, it will help to prevent people who do have a policy, but who can’t locate their proof of coverage within a reasonable amount of time when they are pulled over or at a crash site. As far as law enforcement is concerned, this tech has been designed to boost the ease and accuracy of identifying uninsured drivers on Michigan roads.
The primary concern that has been identified, according to Shanon Banner, a spokesperson for the Michigan State Police, is that the requirement on the side of the insurance companies is to submit policy information to the Secretary of State only twice per month. Therefore, “it’s not real-time information.”
While it does mean that the system will contain accurate information for the majority of drivers, changes that have occurred within the previous couple of weeks may not show up on the information presented to the police. Therefore, while plates can be scanned to check for coverage, “electronic insurance verification should not be used as the primary reason for a traffic stop.” Moreover, proof of coverage will still be considered acceptable if it is presented by a driver who has been pulled over for another reason.