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Oklahoma Impound Law Advances

Oklahoma is one step closer to having a law that would allow police officers to impound uninsured vehicles.

House Bill 2331, co -authored by state Senator Gary Stanislawski and state Representative Steve Martin passed the House of Representatives (93-3) and the Senate (41-4) and now goes to the governor for signature or veto. A veto is unlikely, however.

Once passed, the bill will allow law enforcement officers making traffic stops to seize vehicles found to be uninsured, and have them towed to an impound lot until the owner is able to legally redeem them.

Martin said that the bill would take advantage of Oklahoma’s recently launched instant verification system, which law enforcement officers can use to determine – in mere seconds – if a stopped driver is covered by qualifying liability insurance.

Martin told the press, “Law enforcement officers can now enter a license tag number into a data base and know immediately if a car is insured.”

The instant verification system, which was ordered by an act of the Oklahoma legislature four years ago, was created through cooperation between the State of Oklahoma and the insurance industry. It’s been available to police and highway patrol for several months, but up until now, law enforcement had no power to seize uninsured vehicles.

Instead, uninsured drivers who caused accidents would drive away from from the scene, while innocent victims had their disabled vehicles towed away by wreckers.

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