MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama's liability insurance law has been on the books for 12 years, but 22% of Alabama drivers are still uninsured - one of the highest rates in the nation. Insured drivers are the ones paying the price.
"I was rear-ended on Vaughn Road, and they told me they didn't have insurance," said Elizabeth Daly, a driver. "And they proceeded to drive off, which my insurance costs went up as a result of that."
The state has been testing the Online Insurance Verification System since June, ahead of its full deployment on January 1st. Alabama will be the first state to deploy such a system.
"I'm pretty sure this system will drop that rate drastically," said Jay Starling, Assistant Director of the Motor Vehicle Division at the Alabama Department of Revenue. "We're hoping for, it's going to be less than 10% uninsured motorist rate, that's what we're shooting for."
It also gives law enforcement a new tool to help catch those who try to break the law by using fake cards.
"When people printed them up themselves, or they would go and get insurance, get their paperwork and stop paying their premiums," said Sgt. Steve Jarrett, with the Department of Public Safety. "This way we can check it real-time."
Beginning January 1st, you will not be allowed to register your vehicle in Alabama unless your insurance can be verified through the system or you can provide proof in person.
If you are convicted of driving without insurance, the first offense carries a fine of up to $500 and the second offense carries a $1000 fine and a suspension. More information on the new system can be found here.