Those who don’t pay for insurance are about to pay for their actions in Louisiana.
The Pelican State has adopted a system that will allow its state police troopers to have real-time information on the car insurance of those they pull over in routine stops or otherwise.
The Louisiana State Police kicked off the first phase of the program last weekend, when officers working in Baton Rouge and Monroe were given access to the new technology, which works by pulling payment information directly from insurance companies.
It’s meant to replace the old way of doing things in Louisiana, which allowed officers only to check whether drivers had an insurance card, but left them unable to tell whether that person was up-to-date on his or her premiums.
The second phase of the operation will be rolled out in several months, after any possible kinks in the system are worked out by the Baton Rouge and Monroe departments. Once the technology has been time-tested, the rest of the state police will receive it, and, eventually, every police officer in Louisiana will have access to the information.
The idea was proposed as a way to combat the problem of uninsured drivers in Louisiana. After digging into the numbers last year, the state found that nearly a quarter of all drivers were on the road without insurance—one of the reasons the state ranked in the top 5 for most expensive car insurance rates last year.
In the wake of the discovery, the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) orchestrated an enormous campaign to acquire insurance-related payments from its residents. The letter blast reached more than 1.2 million current and former Louisianans and was estimated to rake in up to $444 million in outstanding debt from fines related to the lapsed insurance policies.
Officials are hoping that by keeping a tighter track of residents’ insurance bills, that large effort won’t have to be repeated in the future.