The Dallas Morning News reports that the State Senate has passed a bill that will have very immediate effects upon nearly all Texans.. Under Senator Glen Hegar’s proposal, which was passed unanimously by voice vote, Texas drivers would no longer by required to carry paper proof-of-insurance in the glove-box of their car. Instead, drivers would be allowed to downloaded smartphone apps from their insurance companies (all the major ones do this already), and show this as proof of insurance if and when they are pulled over by the police.
I originally thought this was a brilliant idea, but there is a great point brought up in the Morning News article. If you put your insurance on your iPhone, you have to hand over your smartphone, unlocked, to the police if you are pulled over. I have studied enough Texas law to know that consenting to a police officer looking/searching some of your property never really ends well for you if there is anything you could get caught doing. The article stated that a Senate analysis stated that giving one’s smartphone would not be grounds for a broader search, but we’ll see how effective that is at 3 in the morning at the side of the road.
In a weird little tangent, the Morning News article tries to tie this to uninsured drivers, I guess insinuating that making it easier to have proof of insurance will cut down on the number of uninsured drivers. This makes almost zero sense, as the people too poor to have liability insurance (meaning to drive around in violation of the law) would be too poor to have a smartphone. I hope this measure may be convenient for some drivers, but I think I’ll stick to paper.