IBERVILLE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - If you're an uninsured driver in Iberville Parish, you should beware. The Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office has a new tool designed to catch those drivers without insurance.
The Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office estimates that one in five drivers in their parish do not have car insurance.
"Everybody wants to pay for the way they drive, right? And you do in a lot of ways, but at the end of the day, the environment in Louisiana is a higher cost because there's so many drivers that don't have insurance," said state farm insurance agent, Brady Flavin.
The Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office has equipped two deputy units with new license plate cameras that scan plates as deputies make their rounds. The office also plans to mount permanent cameras along key busy roads in the parish. If the plate connects to an uninsured driver, that driver will get a ticket in the mail along with a $200 fine.
According to Sheriff Brett Stassi, the cameras are provided by the Louisiana Consortium for Public Safety in exchange for the company receiving a portion of the $200 fine. The remainder of the fine is split between the District Attorney's Office and the Sheriff's office.
Stassi says his office would not be able to afford the technology otherwise, noting that one permanent camera can cost up to $50,000 to buy and install. More importantly, Stassi says the cameras can help with investigations by immediately notifying deputies if they pass a car with a plate number associated with an amber alert, man hunt, or other active investigations.
"I think the cameras will be a big help for us also stopping the criminal activity on the interstate," said Stassi.
However, the cameras are not without their critics. During the 2016 legislative session, the Louisiana Consortium for Public Safety pushed a bill sponsored by Sen. Ronnie Jones that would have rolled out similar programs in nine parishes. However, a House committee put the brakes on the bill after lawmakers questioned the effectiveness of the cameras and cited concerns over privacy.