Members of the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Anti-Fraud Unit and deputies with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office recently wrote 17 citations for driving without auto insurance in Tulsa. Fourteen of the uninsured vehicles were towed during the safety checkpoint. The crackdown was the result of an ongoing partnership between the Oklahoma Insurance Department and the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.
“This continues to be a big problem in the state of Oklahoma,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak. “Nearly one in four Oklahoma drivers is uninsured. But we are determined to turn the tide.”
A new law, House Bill 1792, allows law enforcement to remove the tag from an uninsured vehicle. The law provides temporary liability insurance for the uninsured vehicle for up to ten working days. The offender must pay for the cost of the temporary insurance, along with other required fees and fines, and purchase insurance to get his or her tag returned.
The Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association (OSA) is the plan administrator of the new law.
“Training materials are being developed for law enforcement,” said OSA director Ken McNair. “We’re planning several training sessions with law enforcement officials around the state in November and December. I expect law enforcement will begin seizing tags of uninsured drivers on January 1, 2014,” McNair said.
“The goal is to lower the number of uninsured motorists over the long-term while also providing minimum liability insurance in the short-term at no cost to the state,” said Doak. “The Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association is doing an outstanding job and I appreciate their hard work.”
HB 1792 was modeled after a similar measure in Louisiana. The uninsured motorist rate dropped from 30 percent to 13 percent after the law was implemented in that state.
“We are confident that when this new enforcement program begins it will make a difference,” Doak said.
Together, the Anti-Fraud Unit and Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office have executed six safety checkpoints. Of the 472 citations they’ve written, 217 were for driving without insurance. That’s 46 percent of the total.