LAWTON, Ok (RNN Texoma) - If you drive without insurance, new technology coming to Oklahoma will make it easier for law enforcement to catch and ticket you.
License plate scanners that can read the plates of every passing car will soon be put up on interstates and highways across Oklahoma. If you drive past one of those scanners and don't have insurance, the system will take note of that and within a few weeks, you'll have a $184 ticket show up in the mail.
Executive Coordinator of the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council Trent Baggett said uninsured motorists are a huge problem in our state.
"There are studies out there that have indicated that Oklahoma is perhaps number one in the country in the number of uninsured motorists on the road. As many as one in four," Baggett said. "The main purpose of the program is to get people to get insurance. Uninsured motorists are a big problem, especially if you get hit by one."
Baggett said the scanners will be spread out across the state, though there are likely to be more in metropolitan areas like Oklahoma City and Tulsa than in rural areas.
"It does little good to have them out in areas where the traffic is not that heavy," Baggett said. "I do not believe there is a plan to have one on every street corner in Oklahoma. I think that right now it's envisioned that there are fewer than 20 in the metropolitan areas and other areas that are high traffic, perhaps near interstates."
Oklahoma law was changed in 2016 to allow the use of the cameras, but the law stipulates they cannot be used until there is a system in place that allows the scanners to work correctly. A contract is already in place for the actual scanners themselves. Baggett said they are now waiting on the Insurance Department to get a fully functioning database of all the motorists who have insurance before they begin positioning the scanners across the state.
"It would be awesome if it was yesterday but it's not," Baggett said. "I honestly cannot tell you how soon that will be. I know that we are motivated to get it active as quickly as possible."
Baggett said he hopes the scanners will help reduce the number of uninsured drivers in our state.
"You're never going to completely eradicate it," Baggett said. "You want to get it as under control as you possibly can and I'm probably being optimistic but maybe to get it to the 10% range, maybe even less than that. You want to try to have everybody comply with the law."
Baggett said the law only requires them to store the information for those who don't have insurance, which means if your license plate is scanned and you are insured, your information will instantly be erased.