On Oklahoma roads and highways, one in four drivers don't have insurance on their vehicle, according to state officials. According to Pew Research, that means Oklahoma has one of the worst rates of uninsured drivers in the nation.
But now the state will start using cameras to catch those uninsured drivers. It’s the first-of-its-kind program in the country.
Beginning November 1, five cameras will be placed along busy highways in metro areas of Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Eventually, there will be 30 or more cameras across the state.
Cameras will be mounted on poles and on movable trailers. The cameras will identify uninsured drivers by matching up the driver's license number with a database of insured drivers.
“We are able to plug in real time with insurance companies, so if you go get an insurance agent, we should know real time if you have insurance,” said Oklahoma Deputy Insurance Commissioner Tyler Laughlin.
Drivers who don't have insurance will be fined $174 and will have to get insurance for the next two years or face criminal prosecution.
The cameras and maintenance are paid for by a private company that will get a percentage of the fines.
“The State of Oklahoma will pay nothing to get the program in place. This program is going to be paid for by those people who are violating the law that are sending money in,” said Chairman of the District Attorneys Council Brian Hermanson.
The District Attorneys Council is in charge of the program.
But Hermanson said the program will likely save Oklahomans money because insurance companies won't be forced to pay claims caused by uninsured drivers.
“This should help those persons that are in compliance with the law have lower rates from here on in,” he said.
For those with privacy concerns, officials said they will not be keeping or sharing any information they collect.