Police can now see if you have insurance before they even pull you over

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MICHIGAN -- It's something every driver should have on them when they get behind the wheel and it's one of the first things police look for if you happen to get stopped.

But now, some existing technology is providing a new tool that's being used by Michigan State Police and other agencies across the state giving officers the upper hand to determine if you're driving  without insurance.

Officers can run a driver's license plate through their in-car computer systems to access the information which began to be available last September.

Insurance companies are now required to send information to the Secretary of State's office twice a month, on the 1st and 15th, making that information readily available through the statewide Law Enforcement Information Network, or LEIN.

“It’s now linked to the license plate for that car so when we’re on a traffic stop and we run that person’s license plate then it will come back either that they have insurance or don’t," said F/Lt. Chris McIntire with the Michigan State Police Rockford Post.

McIntire said state law still requires drivers to carry  proof of insurance in their vehicles.

While the information might be more readily available, it doesn't mean officers will be specifically targeting drivers for just this reason, McIntire said.

Not having insurance for your vehicle is considered a secondary violation which means police technically can't pull a driver over just for that offense, according to McIntire.

“If we pull someone over just for being in violation of this new law and not having insurance, any criminal activity in that car that comes from that traffic stop we would lose because we didn’t have a valid reason to stop them," he said.

“Typically we’re not looking for people who just don’t have insurance and trying to make traffic stops and figure out reasons for that. We’re busy enough."

McIntire adds the new tool also provides officers with an opportunity to crack down on drivers using fake insurance cards or who bought policies from fake providers.

Between September 2013 and March 2014, MSP troopers issued 8,664 citations to drivers for having no proof of insurance. During that same period a year later, the number of citations increased to 10,009, a roughly 15 percent uptick.

Driving without any insurance on a vehicle is considered a misdemeanor offense that could land a person one year behind bars. Drivers who simply don't have proof of insurance during a traffic stop could face fines of up to $140.

McIntire said the system does not show results for commercial or fleet vehicles or motorcycles.

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24 comments

  • kurt

    That would work for Michigan license plates, but what about out of state license plates or somebody who just moved to Michigan that didn’t transfer their states DOT information to Michigan yet? I would think all states should require this information and share it with each other.

  • AC

    Actually–possessing fake proof of insurance is a 1 year felony. MCL 257.329 Michigan Secretary of State told me this yet I haven’t met an officer who knows this.

  • johnno

    If doesn’t violate 5th Amendment protections (because the authors of it claim their own meaning) then simply put is that we have human rights before civil rights. Declaration of Independence preceded our law and its intent which clearly states equality of all humans, none of greater authority. So authors may define their law, but truth defines it isn’t applicable to transgress and no one can argue truth as it speaks for itself. That’s the ‘self-evident’ used in Declaration. NOTE: Are we to really believe they wouldn’t use this in a wrong way? (well look up the words foolishness and believing and 1 Cor 1:21 verifies they are one-in-the-same) Know don’t Believe (except that ONE that is ok, which is spiritual and not able to be know carnally anyway so it is ok to that point…) And those who think they have a right to impose licenses and insurances on others, transgress… we go along trying to get along, but it isn’t a right impose, again we are sovereign, that’s what makes us equal, the rest is voluntary, advised, even plead for… but not required by true authority. Authority (truly) only is of the creator (look up the etymology of the word) and that’s how our Christian forefathers and ourselves know all the rest is transgression.

  • Deez

    Just another reason to trap ppl. Aren’t yall busy enough unlawfully killing us off. Its like yall have nothing better to do but to find a reason to put someone out. Have yall notice that the cost of insurance is through the roof. Hell a seven day sticker I 300$+. Seriously find something else to do with yall time. Damn.

    • Be Accountable

      It’s called being accountable/responsible for your actions. If you can buy/operate a vehicle then you can buy/provide insurance for that vehicle.

    • Jacquelin Carpenter

      Working-class families are really struggling out here. We have situations both parents working 50-70 hours and many still can’t meet basic needs. With the hours they work there is no help with childcare, health insurance premiums, deductibles, and copays are high and we avoid going to the doctor, and car insurance companies can use your credit to determine your rates making it easy for them to prey on the working poor. I know a working father with 3 kids who, back when the Driver’s Responsibility Law was in full force, got pulled over for having expired plates and insurance. The guy was just out of the military and was making like $9/hour. He wasn’t a drunk driver, which is what the law was supposed to be designed for, he was a good man just trying to provide for his family. They arrested him, impounded his car, and not only did he get ticketed, but he got some high fines through this law. He ended being told if he did not come back to work he would be fired, so he had no choice but to get back into his car and head for work. A couple of weeks later he was pulled over and arrested again, this time he had his young daughter with him in the car! So more tickets, more fines… From what I know it took a few years for him and his family to crawl back out of the hole. I’m not positive, so correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the Driver’s Responsibility Law has been over-hauled to do what it was supposed to do in the first place. I don’t believe that insurance companies should be able to use your credit history to determine your rates, and I don’t believe police should be able to ride around and run any plate they want to. The insurance companies are financial profiling and the police are looking for any reason to pull people over so they can meet their monthly quota. They have to do their part to pay the State of Michigan’s bills. The insurance companies are getting rich off of the backs of the working-class. And now with the Affordable Care Act we are again required by the law to have health insurance and if we don’t we get fined. I wonder how much money the insurance industry spends each year on lobbying our lawmakers so they pass laws that benefit the corporations?

  • Mark

    It’s a huge hastle if you drive without insurance – in the UK you may even have to retake your drivers test. It should really go without saying, but you should never leave an accident unreported to your insurance company. If another victim in the accident makes an insurance claim or a police report is filed, the chances that your insurance company will catch wind of it rise exponentially. While an accident you report might raise your premiums, an unreported one definitely will – and by much more.

  • Kara Hayes

    Like i havent fot wnough ro worry about! The truth is that i drive without a licence everday because the need out weighs the concaquince if caught. The hastle of finding a way to work or the store to buy my children diapers puts more stress upon me and my family then the small worry of being pulled over. I am an extremely causious driver and i NEVER exceed the speed limit. I wear my seatbelt and frequently check the lights on my vehivle before i leave anywhere at night. Now i must worry about being in the wrong place at tge wring time. Thnks for all of ur hrlp

  • lashonda

    On Dec 18 I was pulled by sheriff they took my tags saying that I needed proof of insurance but I’ve been with progressive since Nov so how would I get my tags back will I have to pay

  • Rick

    The State is just legally extorting it residents, so you now have to pay the court up to $250 for not having proof of insurance then you have to turn around and pay the Secretary of State another $500, now they making no proof of insurance a misdemeanor or a crime offensive. They gave me a bench warrant for it so i made a appearance in person walk-in to take care of it they “fingerprinted” me like a real criminal gave me another court date but they just trying to get money out of the people . All this crap because Michigan is a No-fault state. If you don’t want residents riding with no insurance change that stupid no fault policy driving our insurance through the roof which is the highest in the nation. Like we don’t struggle enough as it is. I have a decent driving record no accidents but they wanna do whatever to me the residents criminals. I Already have health insurance through my employer why do we need two health insurances one of which for driving? Since I live in Detroit to insure my 23 year old car it cost me $260 a month for no fault!! ,the car is only worth $1000 bucks. I’m struggling to hold on to suitable work, I do my best to keep it insured now there’s cops on my as for this unconstitutional law, it a violation of rights I kissed a new car good-bye years ago. I have no one else to to put the insurance in there name for me. BRING IN THE D INSURANCE PLEASE!!! The residents/TAX payers need HELP instead of being Extorting. So I’m try and find a used motorcycle or big moped for the summer/spring. Most of those crap laws don’t apply to bikes.

  • Bs law hater

    Yeah just another way to attack the poor and single moms trying to make it in life I know I’ve been down that road working two jobs paying bills and buying food for kids just wasn’t any money for gas let alone insurance,

  • Britni

    If Michigan is a no fault state why are we required to carry insurance?
    See some of us are on a fixed income so an extra $400 a month on insurance is the thin line between eating and starving. We don’t receive welfare but of course DHS doesn’t count insurance in your income. But we still have to work and that means we need transportation. City bus line took out half our stops because of their budget and taxes are even more expensive. This is just another way for Michigan to screw it’s own citizens.
    Flint’s water is toxic and battle Creek spent millions on these stupid poles off the highway so it’s looks better coming into town and light up benches no one uses and it was all paid for by us. While we struggle to feed ourselves and pay bills our tax money that we worked for gets misappropriated but God forbid you drive without insurance to take care of your family.