System helps nab uninsured drivers

Until recently, if police or state motor vehicle departments wanted to check

vehicle insurance information, it wasn't always easy to get up-to-date information.

But a new system in Oregon — in which information is updated automatically

and is available around the clock — shows one way around the problem.

In Oregon's Automobile Liability Insurance Reporting (ALIR) system, vehicle

policy information is transmitted electronically to the Oregon DMV and is

used to update the DMV insurance database.

The trick has been to get some 400 insurance companies to standardize the

format of the data they send to the DMV. With the new system, the companies

send data in X12 format — an electronic data interchange standard — directly

or via value-added networks. The data is automatically downloaded each evening

then translated and checked for errors before being matched with the vehicle

identification database.

The ALIR database contains just less than 2 million records and indicates

that 33 percent of all registered vehicles in the state may be operating

without insurance.

Oregon expects that ALIR will help it cut down substantially on the number

of uninsured vehicles as the quality of the insurance data improves.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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