Verification System Designed To Catch Uninsured Motorists
The new mandatory liability insurance law which takes effect January 1 paves the way for a computer program to catch drivers who are not insured instantly and the penalties will be steep.
Alabama is testing the new Online Insurance Verification System or OIVS in ten counties right now but after the first of the year it will be used state wide.
Motorists who pay for liability insurance coverage say it's about time the state comes down on those who don't.
Bonnie Shanahan says she knows someone who was hit by an uninsured motorist.
"That left the motorist who was insured in a lot of trouble both financially and physically," said Shanahan.
While it's already the law in Alabama to have liability insurance soon officials will have a new way of making sure you do.
You will not be able to register your vehicle or renew your registration unless proof of insurance is verified through OIVS.
Julie Magee, Alabama State Revenue Commissioner, says, "Seventy-eight percent of the registrations we have in Alabama, we have their insurance information today, so we have integrated that into a very state of the art web service that it can take that information go out to this cloud and verify is that policy active today."
Law enforcement will verify this information during traffic stops as well and if you aren't covered you will receive a ticket.
Steve Jarrett with the Alabama Department of Public Safety, says "If they've obtained insurance and failed to pay the premium we'll be able to check it, if they have the paperwork and their policy is lapse we'll be able to check it if they have a fraudulent insurance verification card we'll be able to check it so basically it's just another check and balance to make sure people are compliant."
First time offenders face a fine of up to 500 dollars. The fine increases to a 1000 dollars for subsequent violations.
In addition, a 200 dollar registration reinstatement fee will be charged for providing proof of auto insurance after a first offense.
Repeat offenders could also have their drivers license and registration suspended for six months.
In cases where coverage is not showing in the system, you can provide paperwork that shows proof of insurance, but the state will follow-up to ensure it's valid.