SB 359 produces a new program ran by local District Attorneys, one that partners with private companies to set out automated license plate readers capable of capturing a picture of your license plate and comparing it to a data base of insured cars. When it catches an uninsured motorist the system sends a ticket and summons to appear in court. If someone buys insurance before the court date they are fined $50.00, $125.00 if they are convicted.
Sounds like a good way to get uninsured cars off the road, right? Yes, but at what cost?
Imagine a law enforcement officer or office worker accessing this system to check on a spouse… where they have been, dates, times, photos showing if there was anyone else in the car. Or perhaps selling such information to a candidate for public office, tracking his opponent. Or perhaps the system data is used to check out a teenager that a parent is concerned about. Or simply to blackmail citizens, the list is endless.
Worse, this sets up a moral hazard as the local D.A. officer gets to keep a large percentage of the fees and fines generated and that money can be spent on anything the D.A. wants to spend it on. Worse still is that the profits can be used by the private company providing the cameras and computer system to proliferate the system to other counties, towns, and cities.
It wasn't that long ago that the State Chamber of Commerce was talking about legislation to tax Oklahomans by the mile traveled as a way of raising more taxes. Fuel efficiency has allowed cars to go from 8 miles per gallon to thirty miles per gallon and the fuel tax intake has plummeted. And what else can they come up with, a list of delinquent property taxes, behind on child support.,, where does it end?
Some would say that there is nothing to worry about if you are a law abiding citizen. I would accept that argument if the same people removed the locks from their homes and business and took down the curtains. Privacy is important; it is not to be given up without a compelling public need. Illegals are stopped all the time and given warnings or tickets and the cars are allowed to drive away. Once law enforcement starts impounding these uninsured cards and auctioning them off a few weeks later the problem would evaporate.
The legislation is now headed to Conference Committee where anything and everything can happen so please contact your legislators by email and telephone and urge them to reject the legislation and protect privacy rights when traveling public roads.
Here are the names of those that voted for this legislation. The legislation will be on the 2016 Oklahoma RINO Index.
Anderson David Marlatt Smalley
Barrington Fields Mazzei Standridge
Bass Floyd Newberry Stanislawski
Bice Ford Pittman Sykes
Bingman Fry Quinn Thompson
Boggs Griffin Schulz Treat
Brecheen Holt Sharp Wyrick
Brinkley Jech Shaw Yen
Brooks Jolley Shortey
Crain Justice Silk
Dahm Loveless Simpson
Banz Denney McCall Roberts, S.
Biggs Derby McCullough Rogers
Billy Echols McDaniel, J. Rousselot
Caldwell Faught McDaniel, R. Sanders
Calvey Grau Mulready Sears
Cannaday Hall Newell Tadlock
Cleveland Hardin Nollan Thomsen
Cockroft Henke Ortega Vaughan
Condit Joyner Osborn Walker
Coody, A. Kannady Perryman Watson
Coody, J. Lepak Peterson Wood
Cooksey Loring Pfeiffer Wright
Cox Martin Roberts, D. Mr. Speaker