As with most great dystopian visions, the power of the nightmare lies in its connections to our present, and in Oklahoma, your Big Brother future is now. According to The Oklahoman, a company called Gatso USA contracts with the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council [DAC] to use license plate scanners to catch uninsured drivers.
Gatso USA is a division of Sweden-based Sensys Gatso, which sounds like the name of an arms dealer from Tatooine. When Gatso catches someone driving without insurance, they send the motorist a letter notifying them of the legal requirement to properly insure their vehicles and charge them a $184 fee. Gatso gets $80, the DAC gets $84 and the rest goes to administrative costs and a state pension fund for law enforcement, which is supposed to make it feel warm and fuzzy, like a puppy hiding from the mechanized security forces patrolling a blighted future world.
CFN thought the letter sounded kind of like a traffic ticket. Sure, its issued by a company hailing from the land of difficult-to-assemble furniture instead of Oklahoma law enforcement, but its still a ticket or a citation, right?
Its not a ticket or a citation, said DAC executive coordinator Trent Baggett in an interview with The Oklahoman, because of course he said that. Its a letter stating, Our records show you do not have insurance. And charging you $184.
Gatso is getting attention these days via class-action lawsuits, which are pending against them in Iowa, Florida, Georgia and Alabama, where good ol boys worry this high-tech Boss Hogg will catch the General Lee before it can get over the creek bed.
CFN strongly believes it is important for all motorists to be insured its a public safety issue. But the $2 million Gatso deal feels like a near-future cyber-boondoggle. Legislators should provide more funding to the Department of Public Safety to police insurance shirkers so were not subject to the electronic eyes of our Swedish overlords.