Friday, February 24, 2012

I kind of can't believe it

I could go on and on (and on and on and on and on) about the idiocy, bigotry, and cronyism in the Idaho legislature, but why belabor the obvious.  Rather, I'd like to applaud something they're doing.

The Senate Transportation Committee approved a bill that would allow Idaho drivers to show proof of insurance using images on a smart phone.  Brilliant!  

Per the blurb in the Statesman, Idaho would be the first state to do so, but only if it beats other state to the punch.  It appears this industry sponsored bill is being considered in California, Arizona, and Maryland, and probably elsewhere.


fortboise said...

Maybe if I hadn't successfully carried my proof of insurance (along with my registration) in my glove boxes for 30+ years, and if I had a smartphone, this would strike me as brilliant! instead of as "meh."

What if the state required that an insurer of an Idaho-registered vehicle had to send an electronic notice to the state that VIN#xyz had paid-for insurance through some date? And that if the contract was cancelled or otherwise terminated before that date, the insurer was required to notify similarly?

When the police needed to look up the registration, the record would include a bit for insured yes, or no.

This does not sound like "model legislation" to me, but a rather a significant waste of resources.

alan said...

I'm not as organized as you. My insurer no longer mails out the proofs, so I have to log on, down load, print, and put in my car, twice a year, for 2 cars. Being able to do it on the phone saves me all but the first step.

Yes, a nationwide database of all drivers linking all states and all insurance companies could work, but I suspect civil libertarians would object. And it would need to be nationwide, to enable cross-border trips.

ericn1300 said...

A couple of the companies I contract for are listed on my auto policy as "Parties of Interest" and are notified of any changes or cancellations. The method is in place but the state is not interested. Even if they are notified the best they could do is cancel the vehicles registration but the owner still has the tags. An enforcement nightmare.

fortboise said...

"the method is in place"

Good point; a lienholder has that interest in your car's insurance.

"but the state is not interested"

Yes it is! L'etat, c'est moi! I don't see the enforcement nightmare. The bit sits in the database with the registration. When an officer verifies the registration, it comes through with the bit, true or false, insured or not insured.

The state's not yet competent, but that can be fixed.

ericn1300 said...

"When an officer verifies the registration, it comes through with the bit, true or false, insured or not insured."

Really how many scofflaws would be discovered in that manner? True enforcement would requiring hunting down the uninsured vehicles and disabling or impounding them in some way.

fortboise said...

One step at a time. The legislation this thread is about had to do with how a stopped motorist could provide proof of insurance, not how the police would track down scofflaws and remove them from the gene pool.

The state tracks registration. Insurance tracking with notification to 3rd parties is well-established. Combine. Do not invest instead in a new system to serve a small segment of drivers.

Alan said...

Well, a key difference to me is push vs. pull. An insurer will notify a lienholder of a failure to insure; it will push out the info, and the lienholder gets info on just the one vehicle, in which it has a legit interest.

The nationwide database, OTOH, would be made available to, well, whoever, and anyone with access could check out anyone. Would be very similar if all states combined their motor vehicle records into one database.

Doable, yes, easier on the driver without a smart phone, yes, but a privacy nightmare.

Now, I suppose one could imagine a system where each insurer sent a notice of insurance to each separate state, and the state consolidated them for state use. The insurer notifes the state of new insurance, and in lapses in coverage. Hmmm. Maybe. Not sure it's more efficient than allowing a person to show a smart phone image. Folks without smart phones would still be able to use *shudder* paper.