State law in effect to make sure drivers are insured - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

State law in effect to make sure drivers are insured

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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

A state law is aimed to make sure that you're insured when you get behind the wheel.  As of January 1st the state will be using their online insurance verification system to immediately verify insurance status in real time.

"Hopefully it means for drivers that it would be far less people getting involved in accidents and hit by uninsured motorists," said License Director Mark Craig.  He says the Alabama Mandatory Liability Insurance Law will keep people from cutting corners by paying the first payment on their insurance plan, get that card that's good for 6 months or more, and then never pay again.

"It's designed to prevent those type of things," Craig said.  "If it comes back unconfirmed and we enter the information in, well the State gets that.  Within a couple of weeks they are going to go out and confirm it in that same database.  If they do not, they will send them a letter telling them to prove to us that they have insurance."

 Statewide Insurance Agent Joe Demos said the system is great for the average driver. 

"There are too many instances in this state especially of people driving without insurance," he said. "What that means to you and me is if someone is at fault in an accident, you know they are going to have insurance to pay for your damages."

 The online system will also make a bit of a difference at the Vehicle Registration Office. 

"The new system I do think will slow us up," Craig explained.  "Now, it won't slow us up a lot.  It takes two or three seconds to run out and verify the computer database.  So, if it comes back confirmed, then you are looking at two or three seconds.  If it doesn't, we have to physically see the insurance card and enter the information in.  So my suggestion would be for everybody to bring a copy of their insurance card just in case the system doesn't confirm that they have insurance."

The proof helps law enforcement as well.  State Trooper Curtis Summerville said in the past, they simply went on blind faith.

"It allows us in real time to make that confirmation that you do have insurance," Summerville said.  "Before this law went into place we were not able to confirm in real time whether or not someone had insurance."

Troopers said they will check for proof of insurance if they are at a wreck or if they pull you over for something else. The fine for driving uninsured is up to $500 for the first violation and up to $1000 for the second.

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