09 Jun Bill Requires Police to Check a Driver’s Insurance Electronically
When stopped by an officer on the road, drivers understandably feel apprehensive at the prospect of receiving a ticket or worse. Police also face uncertainty as the driver reaches for the glove compartment. Though asking for registration or insurance is still a routine part of the police stop, a new bill may be able to ease the ongoing tension. On May 30th, Representative Edmund Jordan helped clear a bill past a committee that requires officers to check a driver’s insurance electronically before inspecting a vehicle.
According to the new bill, officers will now have to use “electronic means immediately available” before needing to check for documents in the car. As Jordan notes, this could eliminate the tense moment of a driver reaching for insurance, leading to less potentially harmful police encounters. Furthermore, he assures that the electronic search would not add any extra cost to insurance policies as companies already provide databases available for police use. For quicker stops, Jordan believes this could work towards less intrusive and more efficient checks.
However, despite the good intentions, there are still some obstacles to overcome when enforcing the bill. For example, Representative Terry Landry remarks how the bill could be presumptuous in assuming all officers can access online services in the state. Such a bill could, therefore, be detrimental in more rural areas. Still, Jordan confirmed with state police as well as officials from the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicle Obstacles that enforcement agents do have access to up-to-date information, making the bill relevant. As far as the actual information goes, he believes that the bill would only change the method it is accessed rather than any information itself.
In the future, Jordan hopes that this bill could pave the way for more modern inspections of vehicles during a police stop. Officers could eventually learn insurance information by simply scanning a vehicle license plate which can also encourage more regular insurance payments for coverage. For now, he is more satisfied with the change that could be made to everyday stops thanks to the bill.
Edmund Jordan’s bill previously passed unopposed through the House Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committee.