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Oklahoma License-Plate Scanners Flag 2,100 Vehicles

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TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A new program in Oklahoma that uses automatic license plate scanning technology to search for uninsured vehicles has identified about 2,100 possible violators in its first weeks of deployment.

The program, which is the first of its kind in the country, launched Nov. 1. Four vehicles equipped with license plate scanners are traveling the state, said Amanda Arnall Couch, prosecutor for the Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Diversion Program, which is a unit of the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council.

The cameras scan all license plates, then the tags are compared to a database that lists vehicles with liability insurance. The images of any vehicles not on the list are then forwarded to the state Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Diversion office for further review.

Officials say anyone who receives a letter — and can't prove the vehicle was insured when the photo was taken — faces a $174 fee. Those who don't comply risk arrest, having their vehicle towed and having their driver's license revoked, officials said.

The program only covers Oklahoma license plates, because the state doesn't have insurance data on out-of-state vehicles, tribal license plates or fleet-owned vehicles.

The legislation authorizing the program was approved by lawmakers and signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin in 2016. Officials said they hope to expand the program in 2019 to include mounted cameras, as well as the traveling ones.