Driver fights back after getting ticket on Long Island for electronic proof of insurance

LEVITTOWN, Long Island (WABC) -- A man from Rockland County said he was inappropriately given a ticket by a Nassau County police officer for operating a car without insurance because he displayed an electronic proof of insurance rather than the paper certificate, which is allowed under New York State law.

Daniel Long, of Piermont, said he was pulled over on Hempstead Turnpike near Grassy Lane in Levittown Tuesday because his license plate had started to peel. He said he showed the officer an electronic proof of insurance on his Geico app, but the officer demanded he have the paper form and wrote him a ticket for operating without insurance.

New York State law allows for drivers to show electronic proof of insurance. The law passed in 2015.

"I said, 'You know, I've shown you my proof of insurance. You understand that I have proof of insurance. You're not disputing that,'" he said. "But he said, 'Just plead not guilty, and it will go away.'"

Long immediately sent an email to the Nassau County Police Department filing a formal complaint, and the email chain shows that the police department's chief of patrol responded within 13 minutes informing Long he would forward the email immediately to the commanding officer of the Eighth Precinct.

The chief of patrol also provided his cell phone number to Long.

A spokesperson for the Nassau County Police Department said the officer who issued Long the ticket will be retrained.

The Office of Chief of Patrol has further directed its Commanding Officers of all Precincts to review this law with all of their officers for proper compliance and the department will disseminate a training bulletin to all members," Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun said.

Long said the same situation happened to him two years ago when he was pulled over in Rockland County for a broken headlight. The officer wrote him a ticket for operating without insurance for not having a paper insurance form.

"I had to go to court and plead not guilty," he said. "And of course, the judge said, 'Oh, it looks like you had insurance.'"

Long said he wants other drivers to be aware of their rights.

"There's people like me that don't have the time and energy to email the chief of police, open an investigation and plead not guilty and go to Hempstead at 9 o'clock in the morning in two months that are just going to send in their check and say, I don't have time for this or I must be guilty," he said. "That's not true."

Drivers in New Jersey and Connecticut are also legally allowed to show electronic proof of insurance.

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