Governor signs Roach bill allowing drivers to carry documents electronically

Sen. Pam Roach with 31st Legislative District constituent Billy Knight as Gov. Jay Inslee signs Senate Bill 5095 into law. - Courtesy photo/Washington State Legislature
Sen. Pam Roach with 31st Legislative District constituent Billy Knight as Gov. Jay Inslee signs Senate Bill 5095 into law.
— image credit: Courtesy photo/Washington State Legislature

Washington's vehicle registration and insurance documents have just taken a big step into the digital age.

Senate Bill 5095, which was sponsored by Sen. Pam Roach (R-rural Auburn), allows vehicle registration and proof-of-insurance to be carried on a smart phone or a tablet. The measure was signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Jay Inslee and will take effect July 28.

"I want to publicly thank Buckley resident, Billy Knight, for bringing forth this very good idea," Roach said. "Citizen involvement is very important in making better laws."

Knight contacted Roach last summer with the idea of allowing drivers to carry their vehicle documents on a smart phone or tablet.

"Using technology to protect private information usually stored in the glove compartment is a good idea," Roach said. "This bill prevents crimes, like identity theft and burglary, which occur when these documents fall into the wrong hands."

No longer will carrying important documents in the glove compartment be a necessity, Roach added. Drivers will now be able to now carry this information on mobile electronic devices.

Insurance and licensing documents carry important information that does not belong in the hands of thieves. These documents are often the object of car theft and can lead to residential burglaries. This legislation will play an important part in crime prevention.

Senate Bill 5095 also offers more options to drivers stopped by police.

"Should a driver be pulled over by law enforcement, they will have the option of presenting their proof-of-insurance and vehicle-registration in paper form or electronically," Roach explained. "Both would be valid under the law, and that makes it easier to ensure that a driver has these documents should they be pulled over."

The bill passed the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support.

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