Red light cameras now check for insurance, too

insurance cameraDrive without insurance? Then you'd better stay out of Ohio, where the state is considering a program that uses red-light cameras and insurance company databases to check passing traffic for uninsured motorists. The system would use license plate numbers to verify driver insurance. According to the Columbus Dispatch, officials in Chicago, who are considering the same system, from InsureNet of Novi, Michigan, think that such a program could generate $200 million in additional revenue for the Windy City.

When the system identifies an uninsured motorist, the driver would be sent a letter instructing him to take care of the problem. If he doesn't, a fine will soon follow. In Ohio, that fine is $125 for a first offense, $300 for a second and $550 for a third.

The system is already being provided to law enforcement, free of charge, so even those uninsured drivers who managed to dodge the cameras can be busted if they catch the attention of a local gendarme. The system can also provide them lien reports in real time.

I'm all for requiring drivers to carry insurance, but I'm not pleased by the prospect of insurance company databases being opened for InsureNet's searches. I can see how this would be a good deal for the insurance companies, because it will drive business their way. For the general public, however, this feels like another step toward a Big Brother future.

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