The change took effect last week when Gov. Nikki Haley signed House Bill 3623 into law. South Carolina is now one of 31 states that allow drivers to show electronic proof of insurance.
The shift in the law will hopefully save drivers from tickets, or at the very minimum, relieve them of the frustration of digging for their cards in their wallets or glove boxes.
State law requires drivers to keep proof of insurance in their vehicles at all times, and to be able to show it to an officer when requested.
By updating the law, South Carolina can make sure traffic stops are easier, especially in the digital age when everything from contact information to vacation photos are stored on our phones. The change will help the state fall more in line with private sector innovation.
Even some airlines, for example, offer the option of displaying boarding passes on phones in order to get on a plane. Itís certainly more convenient for consumers.
Additionally, by allowing residents to show their e-cards, it should help to reduce the time spent by courts addressing tickets issued merely because a driver couldnít find their insurance information.
In South Carolina, for instance, you can be ticketed and face a fine of between $155 and $237.50 if youíre pulled over and found to have no proof of insurance.
Accepting e-cards as a viable proof of insurance is actually a relatively new option for drivers. No state allowed digital proof of insurance in 2011, according to the Associated Press.
State lawmakers wisely included a provision in the law that an officer handed a smartphone for insurance purposes cannot search for any other information. This is a smart move as far as a driverís privacy.
It also benefits insurance companies, which will be able to save money on paper and postal services.
Hopefully the change is a win-win for all involved. It certainly puts the state in a positive light as we join the rest of the country in moving forward in the information age.