Auto insurance system could lead to wave of fines

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A contractor projects a system to instantly verify whether Mississippians have auto insurance will lead to fines of more than $150 million a year being collected over the program’s first three years

The computer system was supposed to launch July 1, but was delayed by a vendor selection dispute and now isn’t scheduled to roll out statewide until early 2014.

The system is meant to allow county tax collectors and law enforcement officers to check whether someone is insured. But it’s also supposed to eventually generate automatic tickets to anyone whom records indicate hasn’t bought a policy.

That wrinkle isn’t present in some other states that have moved to online insurance verification.

A 2009 study estimated that 28 percent of Mississippi drivers are uninsured, the most in the nation.