COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Starting this October, law enforcement and tax assessors will begin testing to see if you have auto insurance.
“They’re gonna go through the mechanics of having your tag number. They’ll run your tag number. It will show the VIN number. Then it will go out and search what insurance company you have and if it does not come up with an insurance company, then he will give you a warning,” said Republican State Representative Gary Chism.
Lawmakers passed the Public Safety Verification and Enforcement Act in 2012. Officials planned on launching the program this month, but due to complications with the contract, it was postponed. The system targets uninsured drivers and will allow law enforcement to thoroughly check and see if Mississippi motorist have a policy.
“It should lower your personal uninsured motorist rate. Everybody that buys insurance in the State of Mississippi has to be offered uninsured motorist because so many of our people do not carry liability insurance and that would protect you in case somebody runs into you,” said Representative Chism.
Currently, when law enforcement pulls a motorist over, they check to make sure the driver has their insurance card to see if they are covered. But according to a study in the Insurance Resource Council, 28% of Mississippians carry around expired or cancelled cards. This new law will be a technological and innovative way of making sure drivers are fully covered. County tax collectors can also use the system to deny uninsured drivers a license plate.
“If you came in to renew your tag, it would automatically have bad status on there, which would tell my deputies that they could not renew that tag. If they didn’t have a bad status, they would go ahead and renew it just like they always do,” said Lowndes County Tax Assessor Greg Andrews.
Officials say if you’re worried about the new law, the solution is simple.
“If you don’t want to have delays at the tax office in getting your tags, you know, keep your insurance current or get insurance so you wouldn’t have the problems or delays here,” said Andrews.
The law is scheduled to take effect early next year.
Right now only 10 States have set up online verification systems. Lawmakers hope the new policy would lower the number of uninsured motorist to 10%