A new real-time auto insurance monitoring system is now being used in some parts of Louisiana to help police enforce the requirement that drivers are up to date on paying their premiums.
The American Press reports the new monitoring system is being rolled out in three phases, beginning with trial runs by state police in Baton Rouge and Monroe that started on Feb. 28.
It will be launched statewide for all state police troops next before eventually being open to all police, according to state officials.
Previously, police could only check to see if a driver had an insurance card and not if coverage had lapsed due to non-payment. In a recent report by the Insurance Research Council, 12 percent to 15 percent of Louisiana motorists are uninsured. The report, released in 2014, was based on the number of insurance claims made by people who were injured by uninsured drivers compared with those hurt by insured drivers.
The system will pull reports from insurance companies and provide the information to the state Office of Motor Vehicles and to state police. Troopers will be able to check the database from their vehicles during a traffic stop.
Troop D spokesman Sgt. James Anderson in Lake Charles said that when a state trooper conducts a traffic stop now, the trooper has to contact the troop by radio to determine whether the driver has up-to-date insurance. The new system is expected to remove that extra step in the verification process.
“By eliminating that third-party input, it will allow us to have the most current and most accurate information readily available,” Anderson said. “The current information on drivers will allow us to ensure they’re complying with our state liability insurance laws.”
Louisiana is routinely identified as having among the highest insurance rates. State residents pay an average of $1,774 in car insurance premiums each year — the fourth-highest amount, according to insure.com. The national average is $1,311.
In late 2015, a massive backlog of lapsed insurance cases resulted in the state OMV issuing fines to a large number of Louisiana residents. State officials have said the real-time monitoring system will keep the state from any similar backlogs in the future.