Computer system gets uninsured motorists off road - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Computer system gets uninsured motorists off road

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January 15, 2003

Albany -- If you're in a car wreck in Georgia, there's a nearly 25 percent chance the other driver doesn't have insurance. Because there are so many uninsured drivers, Georgia has a new electronic database to catch them. It goes into effect in two weeks. But State troopers say you still need to keep up to date insurance cards with you.

 Georgia State Patrol Trooper Scott McClure pulling over a car, can check to see if it has valid insurance by accessing the Georgia Computer Information Service. Dispatchers at the Patrol Post check the car through the Georgia Electronic Insurance Compliance System, or GEICS.

Starting February 1st all Georgia vehicles must have their Vehicle Identification Number and proof of insurance in the GEICS system, or you could get a ticket. GSP troopers say they will still accept insurance cards while the bugs are worked out of the database. But they say this system is needed to protect you from uninsured drivers.

Trooper McClure said "There are a lot of uninsured motorists out there. This will catch them and will catch the counterfeit insurance proof cards. We run across a lot of them."

 Even though the computer will be the first check, you will still need an insurance card in your car. David Colmans of the Georgia Insurance Information Service said "If you drive out of state, and an out of state police officer could ask you for your proof of insurance, and you don't have that card with you, you could be creating problems for yourself."

 Getting the estimated one million uninsured motorists off the road is the idea behind GEICS. Insurance companies have been getting ready to meet the new requirements. Colmans said "This has all been done at great coast to the insurers and at great cost to the state."

 There is an estimated 8 percent error rate in the statewide computer service now. It's recommended you check with your insurance agent to make sure your VIN information is correct, because after February 1st it could leave you stranded.

Trooper McClure said "That vehicle is not allowed on the roadway. Therefore your vehicle will be towed and you will be given a citation for no insurance."

Better get your insurance checked. If you change your insurance company or buy a new car, a coverage declaration will be accepted for 20 days. If you rent a car, a copy of the rental agreement will be considered proof.

posted at 4:13 by jimw@walb.com