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DENVER — In an effort to protect police officers from potentially dangerous citizens, an Oklahoma state senator wants the state to begin issuing traffic and other minor tickets by e-mail.

A former police officer, Sen. Al McAffrey, told Insurance Journal that Senate Bill 1872 would save lives. For most law enforcement officers, traffic stops are statistically the riskiest part of the job.

“Routine traffic stops are one of the most dangerous times for officers to become injured because they don’t know what kind of situation or individual they’re approaching. They’re walking up blind,” said McAffrey, a Democrat. “We need to provide better protection for them by not putting them in harm’s way unnecessarily. By allowing them to submit electronic citations (directly to the district court clerk), they’d no longer have to leave the safety of their car.”

The measure would also add a $5 fee to the amount paid by defendants convicted of speeding (up to 10 mph over the speed limit), certain misdemeanor traffic violations, or a driving under the influence misdemeanor or felony.

Sixty percent of the fee, or $3, would be credited to a state-level fund, while the issuing agency would get to keep the rest.

The process sounds similar to the photo radar vans used in Denver and elsewhere, but there is one important difference. Denver’s photo radar “tickets” are legally unenforceable unless the city tracks the suspect down to serve them a ticket in person.

However, tickets issued under the Oklahoma bill would have the full force of law behind them, meaning defendants would have to respond even if they never spoke to a police officer in person.

Read the full story at the Insurance Journal.