Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Insurance Cameras

Last session we saw the insurance traffic camera make its way through the process  as a way to project some dollars to pseudo balance the budget but do these systems work and will the income actually be generated and liability insurance rates increase?

  The camera systems belong to a private third party company that gets the lion's share of the profits from the tickets.  The cameras will scan license plates of passing cars and try to match them up to the state database of insurance policies.  They private company has no background of successful systems implemented so far and of course the percentage of uninsured drivers was vastly inflated in order to generate support for the scheme.  Generally around 12 to 14% of the drivers will have lapsed insurance, usually because they cancel the policy after getting their car tags.

  Louisiana tried to implement a similar system in 2011 and again in 2013 but the Governor vetoed the legislation citing privacy concerns.  The pushers of the legislation put the issue back before the legislator this year and no doubt will continue trying until they succeed.
The goal of course is for this private company to gain access to the state data bases, valuable information that can be resold as well as used to implement the camera scheme.  The problem of course is that around 5% of state car insurance policies are not reported to the state data base plus the fact that policies are constantly changing.  Once the camera system "catches" what it thinks is an uninsured car an employee with the local D.A. office sends out demands for hundreds of dollars in fines, threatening court action and arrest warrants if not paid.  The problem is that the citizen has not been found guilty of a crime and has not seen a judge.  The money extorted from the car owners is shared by the local D.A., Sheriff Department, and Court system and the expected take is estimated to be millions of dollars per year according to the backers of the legislation.

  What is a more likely outcome is criminals stealing license tags or watching out for the cameras.  People don't drive without insurance because they can't afford it, they drive because they are socio paths that refuse to be responsible and hold insurance to cover any potential damage they might cause.  California tried this five years ago, along with giving illegal aliens drivers licenses but the insurance rates didn't budget an inch.