Members of the California Assembly Insurance Committee took an important step yesterday towards modernizing how motorists can show proof of insurance in a traffic stop by approving AB 1708, by Assemblyman Gatto, said the Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC). As amended, AB 1708 will allow policyholders to provide evidence of financial responsibility electronically using a mobile electronic device.
“Every year millions of drivers are pulled over and asked to show proof of auto insurance. If they don’t have that little piece of paper in their glove box, they end up with a fix-it ticket and a court date, even if they had coverage,” said Armand Feliciano, ACIC vice president. “AB 1708 will make California part of a growing trend in state legislatures that are adapting financial responsibility laws to keep up with ever-changing technology. Very simply, this common sense measure will let drivers use their mobile phone to show law enforcement that they have insurance.”
All states except New Hampshire and Tennessee require drivers to carry liability insurance to cover other drivers in an accident. A report by the Court Statistics Project shows there were more than 56 million traffic violation cases filed in state courts in one year alone. Drivers had to show proof of insurance coverage at each one of those stops.
“Electronic proof of coverage is the wave of the future given how prevalent cell phones have become. Many policyholders want to go “green,” but without a change in the law insurers are still required to send paper ID cards to each customer,” said Alex Hageli, PCI’s director, personal lines policy.
“A number of insurers already offer apps or will email copies of policies to consumers.
Lawmakers across the country are recognizing the dominance of mobile technology. In 2012, Arizona and Idaho have already enacted laws allowing electronic proof of insurance coverage.”
AB 1708 (Gatto) was approved by the Assembly Insurance Committee on unanimous vote of 13 to 0. The bill will now move to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Nationwide Legislation and Regulations Allowing Electronic Proof of Insurance:
Alabama - Alabama will soon publish a first-of-its-kind regulation allowing motorists to electronically display proof both at registration and during traffic stops starting January 1, 2013.
Arizona – Gov. Brewer signed HB 2677, authored by Representative Dial, on March 27. ??Colorado – An existing Colorado regulation allows motorists to show proof of coverage electronically when they register their vehicles.
Idaho – Gov. Otter signed SB 1319 into law on March 27, 2012.
This continues to be a dynamic issue across state legislatures. Louisiana may also consider legislation to allow electronic proof of coverage in 2012.