Avoyelles Sheriff and DA: License plate readers reduce number of uninsured motorists, solve crime

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AVOYELLES, La. (Avoyelles Parish Sheriff and District Attorney) - Avoyelles Sheriff Doug Anderson is joined by Avoyelles District Attorney Charles A. Riddle III in taking crime fighting to a new level with the use of advanced license plate readers technology. This effort will not only help solve crime, but also help reduce the number of people with no auto insurance.

The technology will allow law enforcement to cite uninsured motorists, who cause other lawful drivers to have increased insurance rates. It will also provide timely information to law enforcement officers to help with Amber Alerts, kidnapping, warrants, stolen vehicles or other criminal activity.

“This is a proactive law enforcement approach in conjunction with the District Attorney,” Sheriff Anderson said. “The use of these LPRs, and the results are promising as they help with our primary function – public safety, while also helping taxpayers save some of their hard-earned money."

Here’s how it works: LPRs have been installed on public roadways around Avoyelles Parish. When a vehicle passes by that does not have the required liability coverage, a “notice of violation” will be mailed to the vehicle’s registered owner.

“This process is similar to when a deputy makes a traffic stop with a vehicle," Anderson said. "When the driver cannot produce proof of insurance, a citation can be issued. One difference, though, is that the process for use with the LPR is less invasive since there is not an actual traffic stop.”

D.A. Charles Riddle said the entire information process is with the cooperation of the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles. Vehicles that are identified as having no insurance will have a ticket issued to the owner of the vehicle, regardless of who is driving.

It is illegal in the State of Louisiana for a vehicle to be uninsured and on the road. The normal fine for such an offense is $500.00 plus Court cost, which is $165 in Avoyelles Parish.

A ticket will be issued to the person who is the registered owner of the vehicle. That person will be offered an opportunity to prove that they did have insurance and the ticket was issued in error. If proof is provided that insurance was in existence on the day of the ticket issuance, the ticket will be completely dismissed at no cost or charge to the individual.

An opportunity to reduce the amount to pay will be offered to the individual if, they can prove that they have obtained insurance after the time of the issuance of the ticket. If they choose to contest it in Court, they may do so.

What makes this different from the “Red Light Camera Tickets” is the fact that these individuals have the ability to prove that they had insurance. Further, the individual has the opportunity to take it to Court to plead their case.

“It is the hope of our offices that we can reduce the number of uninsured motorist on our public highways," Anderson said. "Louisiana has the second-highest vehicle insurance rates in the nation and it simply cost too much to insure vehicles in our Parish and, all across Louisiana.”

“We will provide individuals the opportunity to prove that they have insurance," Riddle said. "If they don’t, then they will not only have to prove that they have obtained insurance, but also be given the opportunity to go to Court.”

The program is scheduled to begin in mid-November, 2017. All records stored in the computers will be purged immediately if there is no violation and after the ticket is resolved all data will be purged as to that individual.

If you have any questions, call Sheriff Doug Anderson (318) 253-4000 and/or District Attorney Charles A. Riddle, III (318) 253-6587.

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