State ringing in new year by cracking down on uninsured drivers

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- "If people don’t do right, they are going to get caught," said driver Phyllis Schooler.

That’s the message police officers are hoping to send with a new program they will be able to use to verify drivers have car insurance.

"You’re going to have ones that are going to have to learn the hard way because all their privileges will have to be taken away," added Schooler.

Once 2017 kicks off drivers caught without valid insurance can be hit with fines as high as $300, lose their registration and face misdemeanor charges.

"I think a fine would get anyone’s attention if it’s a big enough fine," said Schooler.

All in hopes of getting drivers attention with stiffer rules of the road.

"When you break the rules you get by but you do not get away," added Schooler.

Officials say the goal of this new program is to keep everyone safe and show that it might be cheaper to get and keep car insurance valid rather than get caught without it.

Tennessee is ranked 6 in the nation for uninsured drivers and 1 out of 5 driver's are currently riding illegally. The new verification process will start January 1, 2017.