License plate reading cameras aim to combat uninsured driving in Jennings

Jeff Davis new cameras

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Traffic cameras are common enough throughout the country. One new addition to Jeff Davis Parish is a camera that scans and reads license plates. Mark Andel says he travels for work most days and thinks having these cameras can do some good.

“I don’t have a real problem with them, it seems to help protect us in certain ways,” Andel said.

Jeff Davis Parish District Attorney Michael Cassidy says these cameras are on the lookout for anyone driving uninsured.

“Then a notice is sent to the owner of that car, saying it’s been operating on a public highway, you have 30 days to correct that and present proof of insurance, pay a fee, and the matter is resolved,” Cassidy said.

He says the notice comes with a $200 fee. But he says if you received a notice in the mail by mistake, all you have to do is prove you are insured and the matter will be resolved.

Cassidy says the parish isn’t out to get anybody by having these on the roads, they’re simply put in place to keep everybody safe by having car insurance. But he says there is an added benefit to them.

“We’re not trying to be big brother and spy on everybody,” Cassidy said. “The main focus is making sure as many people are insured as possible, but I’m thinking amber alerts, kidnapping, other criminal activity. We will be able to track down criminals who have committed serious crimes a lot more quickly if they’re traveling through an area that has these cameras.”

Andel says though some people may be weary of them, these cameras shouldn't bother those abiding by the law.

“If you had a stolen vehicle, you’d want all the cameras they could have up and down the road,” Andel said. “I mean some people worry about their rights being infringed on, but if you’re not doing anything wrong and you’re playing by the rules, it’s a way to keep people safer.”

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