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Ohio may allow car insurance proof by smartphone

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio drivers could provide required proof of insurance using smartphones rather than the typical printed card under a proposed change in state law.

The bill would allow drivers to prove they are insured through information on electronic wireless communications devices such as cellphones, tablets and laptop computers. Drivers could use the digital devices to provide the information to the registrar of motor vehicles, a law-enforcement officer, a traffic-violations bureau or a court.

Dean Fadel, vice president of government relations for the Ohio Insurance Institute, said 24 states have adopted rules similar to House Bill 20, and the institute supports the proposed change in the state's financial-responsibility law.

The bill would help cut printing and postage costs and pave the way for insurers to provide a convenience that customers say they want, Fadel said.

"All the companies are trying to go more paperless as much as possible," he said.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the House Transportation, Public Safety and Homeland Security committee is reviewing the bill that would include restrictions on what information officials could view on the devices.

Owners would assume the risk if a device was broken in some way, unless the official handling it "purposely, knowingly, or recklessly" damages the device, according to the Legislative Service Commission.

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles isn't concerned about what methods drivers use to show proof of insurance, spokesman Dustyn Fox said.

"Whatever the legislature determines, our major concern is to show compliance," Fox said.

Rep. Mike Stinziano, a Columbus Democrat sponsoring the bill, said that with technology being used these days to pay bills, "we can utilize modern conveniences."

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