Drivers on the road without insurance impact others drivers’ insurance rates and their pocketbooks, which is one reason why police participate in traffic safety enforcements.
Shawnee police officers recently participated in saturation patrols and checkpoints as part of the More Cops More Stops campaign, where they discovered one-third of drivers stopped were found to be driving without valid insurance.
Chris Thomas, who handles grants and is administrator of support services at the Shawnee Police Department, said 10 Shawnee officers worked the extra patrols because of grant funds, logging nearly 44 hours of overtime for the enforcement.
During that timeframe, Thomas said Shawnee officers issued 68 citations, with 24 of those being for drivers without proof of having any insurance. That, and high accident and fatality rates in a given area, do impact insurance rates that everyone pays, Thomas said.
“Our insurance rates go up in areas that have high accident and fatality numbers, so it does directly affect the wallet,” Thomas said, commenting about the high number citations issued for no insurance at the last checkpoint.
“That is one-third of the people stopped not being able to prove they have insurance on their vehicle,” Thomas said. “Now, what happens when they hit you? Who pays? Whose insurance might get dropped? You pay, we all pay, and our rates go up.”
Other citations consisted of driving under suspension and equipment violations, he said, but there were no arrests made during this activity.
Thomas said Tecumseh police also participated in the event and area law enforcement officers do plan on performing more combined enforcement activities in the near future.
Overall, Thomas said the goal of law enforcement is to keep area family members from becoming statistics, which is why they watch for seat belt usage and impaired drivers.
Thomas said funds trickled down from the national level through the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office is used for officers to works these projects, and “99 percent of the Shawnee area citizens thank our officers.”