State insurance commissioner rides with Oklahoma Highway Patrol
BY ZACK STOYCOFF World Staff Writer
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak joined an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Thanksgiving afternoon to thank officers for serving on holidays and to watch how they gather information about motorists’ insurance.
The ride-along was also meant to bring attention to the state’s uninsured motorists, who make up about a quarter of Oklahoma drivers, Doak said.
“It’s very, very important that we’re serious about catching uninsured motorists,” he said. “It impacts all Oklahomans with the rising cost of uninsured motorist coverage.”
Such coverage can be far more expensive than in surrounding states because more Oklahoma motorists tend to be uninsured, he said.
Doak rode with Trooper Max Chambliss from Tulsa’s Troop B for three hours, hoping to learn how insurance companies and the state can improve their systems and better relay information to police.
He said he hopes to join a trooper every Thanksgiving.
“I can’t think of a better day to be out here to say thank you to these men and women who are serving our state and also bring attention” to uninsured motorists, he said.
Chambliss said he sees uninsured motorists regularly, but he said a new law that allows law enforcement officers to have uninsured vehicles towed during traffic stops seems to be helping.
“I think it’s better than it has been before,” he said, adding that troopers were once limited to writing tickets for uninsured motorists.
“The aspect of having your car towed, I think, is sending a message statewide to get insurance, go to your local broker, find out what the cost is,” Doak said. “If you only have that minimal liability insurance, it’s better than nothing.”
Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak, left, joined Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Max Chambliss for a three-hour patrol of Tulsa's highways on Thanksgiving afternoon. ZACK STOYCOFF/Tulsa World