Cameras helping locate Oklahoma drivers without insurance
LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - A camera set up on Cache Road is taking pictures of license plates as part of a state program to reduce the number of uninsured drivers.
An insurance study in 2016 found that about 25 percent of drivers in Oklahoma did not have insurance, making it one of the worst states in America in that stat.
Now, there are 50 cameras set up across the state, with at least one camera in every district attorney and judicial district.
“We capture every license plate that goes by, it’s compared to the insurance department’s system. If it comes back as confirmed, meaning it has insurance, it is immediately discarded, we keep no information about it,” said Amanda Arnall Couch, Director of the Oklahoma Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Diversion (UVED) Program.
If the car isn’t insured, the picture is forwarded to an investigator who double-checks the information before a notice is sent to the car’s owner in the mail.
“So they’re able to contact us or they’re able to enroll in the program by acquiring verifiable insurance and paying a fee, then they promise to keep that insurance for two years or they can have their insurance company go onto the verification system and clear it that way as well,” Arnall Couch said.
The camera in Lawton is currently on Cache Road, but in the future that could change and there could be more than one.
“They’re based on traffic counts, essentially, we just look for busy intersections. We anticipate adding some more. We also are intending to move some around. We’re constantly looking to see, if we are in an area where clearly everyone is insured we’ll just move that camera somewhere else but we do want to keep one in every district so that it is truly a statewide program,” Arnall Couch said.
Arnall Couch said they try to make it as simple of a process as possible and do everything they can to keep insurance-less drivers out of the court system and especially out of jail.
“We are here to help them. Everyone in the program very much wants to help people get insured, we want to take care of this problem and we don’t want to send anyone to jail. I bend over backward to not prosecute people. I want to fix the problems. I wish people understood it’s not a ticket, I’m not after you, not coming to steal your cat or anything like that. I just want to everyone to get insurance and the best possible thing for us is if we work ourselves out of work,” Arnall Couch said.
Arnall Couch said it’s tough to get an exact number of uninsured drivers in Oklahoma because of problems with reporting, but her best guess is we’re somewhere between 11 and 15 percent right now.
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