New law allows you to use smartphone to show proof of insurance

Posted at 11:23 PM, Oct 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-08 23:23:12-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Your smartphone could soon help you get out of a ticket thanks to a new Michigan law signed by Gov. Synder Wednesday. Beginning January 5, 2016, you will be able to simply hand over your cell phone rather than searching your glove box for your proof of insurance.

"I think it's a great feature," said Grand Rapid Police Officer Adam Host. "A lot of people do lose the paper copy in their car or don't have it on them at the time."

State Rep. Aric Nesbitt introduced the legislation a year ago after one of his voters left his proof of insurance at home and didn't have it when he was pulled over.

"It's just providing another option for motorists here in Michigan, with the intention of continuing to bring down costs and increase convenience," said stae Rep. Aric Nesbitt.

Officers we spoke to Thursday said having the option of providing proof of insurance in a digital platform could dramatically reduce the number of traffic citations they issue, but they said the new option won't change the way they conduct a traffic stop.

"When we make a traffic stop, we're constantly watching the hands" Host said, "making sure we know where people's hands are, what they're doing, and watching when they're going into the glove box."

Host advises drivers if you plan to pull out your phone, communicate with the officer. "The best thing to do if you have insurance on your phone and you're going to produce it on your phone, let the officer know."

But Kent County Undersheriff Michelle Young suggests leaving space for your paper insurance. "If you're not somebody who knows they can pull this up at any split second, I would keep a copy in your glove compartment so you're not stressed when we're trying to talk to you at the window."