Monday, May 13, 2013

Finally government will be implementing something that can actually benefit drivers on the road. State legislatures nationwide are changing the rules about insurance cards. Now there is technology that can go right into your insurance records. The police at traffic stops are going digital with e-insurance cards. We should all hope that it will save drivers from tickets or at least spare them from digging through their glove boxes, wallets or pocketbooks for their insurance cards.

Governments in more than a dozen states have recently passed laws that authorize drivers to show digital images of their proof of insurance cards to law enforcement officers during traffic stops. But do you really want to show the image on your smart phone to a cop? Have him take your phone to his squad card? No I was hoping that I could just tell the cop the name of my insurance company and that then he would just find my policy and card on line somehow but maybe in the future it will be just that easy. I just want to carry less papers everywhere of any importance. 
Last Tuesday, a bill in Washington state became law. That followed laws passing in Colorado, Indiana, and Kansas in April, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America , an industry trade group. Bills are awaiting signatures from the governors in Maine, Georgia, Alaska and Tennessee, according to that group.

At least six more states have approved the measure in at least one legislative body, including Florida, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas. Why can’t we just make it a federal law and make it applicable to all states? People drive through different states all the time.

“It’s a great convenience to the citizens, “ said Republican Senator Gary Romine of Farmington, Mo., who sponsored the bill that has passed the state Senate. “it’s another opportunity to step into the information age.” There are already computers mounted in every patrol car where your criminal record could be exposed easily or your traffic tickets or any violations could be booted up immediately so why not have other records booted up easily to someone?

Many “e-Card bills” as they call it, require that the digital card be issued directly from an insurer. Photos of paper cards are not acceptable to limit the risk of fraud. To address concerns of law enforcement, the bill says police cannot be held liable if they accidentally drop a person’s smartphone while verifying vehicle insurance. All the more reason why a even more sophisticated system has to be developed.

Louisiana began accepting digital insurance cards nearly a year ago and it seems to be working just fine. Insurance companies can save on paper and postal costs so they are among the strongest supporters. It modernizes insurance laws and keeps up with consumer behavior. Everyone seems to have a smart phone now anyway.

There are at least two dozen states that have passed or are considering a bill. It is certainly a trend. State Farm Insurance and Geico are among companies offering digital ID cards via their mobile apps.

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