Michigan bill would change proof of vehicle insurance rule

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 12/16/2013

State lawmakers across the country are pursuing changes that would help truckers and other drivers avoid the delay of shuffling through papers in their vehicles to locate their insurance cards.

A Michigan bill would allow drivers to provide law enforcement officers with electronic proof of insurance on smartphones and other similar devices. Drivers would no longer be required to have the traditional paper proof of insurance to avoid a ticket.

Sponsored by Sen. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, the bill would relieve law enforcement from any liability for damage to an electronic device when it’s presented as proof of insurance. However, police would be forbidden from accessing any other information on the device.

The option for digital proof of insurance is growing in popularity. More and more insurance companies offer apps for customers to download on electronic devices.

According to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, 27 states have adopted the policy. Seventeen states have approved electronic proof in 2013, including Illinois, Missouri and Texas.

An Ohio bill introduced this month would also implement the new rule. It can be considered during the session that begins in January.

In addition to electronic proof of insurance, the Michigan bill would enable the state to share information on drivers not complying with insurance laws. HB4995 would allow law enforcement access to verify whether or not a driver is properly insured.

Nesbitt said his bill – HB4995 – is “common-sense legislation” that takes advantage of technology available “to identify people who are skirting the law.”

The Michigan Secretary of State would be responsible for sending a 10-day notice to vehicle owners who do not show up in the state’s electronic insurance verification system for 30 days. Affected vehicle owners would be required to provide proof of insurance to retain their vehicle registration.

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