Bill would allow for app to show proof of insurance

DENVER – The day is approaching when Colorado drivers caught speeding will hear the deputy say, “Licence, registration and smartphone, please.”

Right now, drivers have to present a paper insurance card whenever they are stopped for a traffic infraction or get in an accident.

But legislators advanced a bill Wednesday to allow smartphone apps to be used as proof of auto insurance.

Everyone in the House Transportation Committee liked the bill Wednesday, from lobbyists for insurance companies and law enforcement to the 12 representatives who voted unanimously to pass the bill.

“It’s bipartisan. It’s going to help people save money. It’s going to be really more efficient,” said Rep. Paul Rosenthal, D-Denver.

Insurance companies already have software that allows people to display their proof of insurance on their phones, but only a handful of states allow it so far. That’s about to change in a big way because 22 states are considering bills similar to Colorado’s, said Kelly Campbell, a lobbyist for the Property and Casualty Insurers Association of America.

Colorado’s county sheriffs also like the bill.

Most people who get tickets for failing to show their insurance cards actually have insurance but forgot to bring their cards, said Peg Ackerman, a lobbyist for County Sheriffs of Colorado.

“It runs close to 80 percent, or thereabout. It’s stunning the number of people who are inconvenienced and have to go to court,” Ackerman said.

The bill, House Bill 1159, now goes to the full House.

If it passes as expected and is signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper, the proposed new law would go into effect in early August.

jhanel@durangoherald.com