A proposal to permit motorists to use smartphones or other mobile devices to show proof of auto insurance during a traffic stop is advancing in Rhode Island’s legislature.
The state’s House Judiciary Committee approved two bills pertaining to the proposal Tuesday. H7125 (An Act Relating to Motor and Other Vehicles – Reparations Act) would permit motorists to show proof of their auto insurance in either paper or electronic format. Acceptable electronic formats would include display of documentation on any mobile electronic device.
In addition, H7098 (An Act Relating to Motor and Other Vehicles – Vehicle Insurance) addresses privacy concerns. When allowing motorists to use mobile devices for proof of insurance, H7098 would prohibit police officers from viewing any other contents on the motorists’ mobile electronic device when checking their proof of insurance in the electronic format. The bill also states that any motorist using an electronic device to provide proof of insurance shall assume any and all liability for any damage sustained to the mobile electronic device.
A spokesperson for Rhode Island’s General Assembly said both bills are scheduled to come up for a vote on the House floor Thursday and that they are expected to pass the House. The bills will then go to the state Senate.
There are currently 31 states that have adopted similar laws and/or regulations that allow motorists to show proof of insurance with their smartphones or other mobile devices during a traffic stop. They are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
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