Police in Michigan are using an easy way to check whether a motor vehicle is properly insured.
State police 1st Lt. David Simon, commander of the Tri-City Post in Bay County’s Williams Township, says the update led to his troopers issuing more tickets with greater ease.
“It is convenient and it’s nice for the officers to verify if someone’s got insurance or not,” Simon said. “It’s one more thing we can do at a traffic stop or at a crash.”
Insurance companies regularly submit reports to the Michigan Secretary of State’s office. While that practice had been in place for some time, officials said the information wasn’t previously immediately available through the Law Enforcement Information Network, or LEIN.
Driving without insurance is a misdemeanor and not having proof of insurance is a civil infraction.
The information accessed by officers isn’t considered real-time information, however, since companies are only required to transmit policy information to the Secretary of State twice a month, said state police spokeswoman Shanon Banner. A driver could have applied for insurance since the information was updated and that wouldn’t show up in the license plate check.
“For the Michigan State Police, our department policy indicates that this electronic insurance verification should not be used as the primary reason for a traffic stop,” Banner said. “It’s kind of a first step. It helps them in the investigative process.”
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