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some text Sen. Bill Ketron

NASHVILLE — Some 40 years after Tennessee's mandatory auto-insurance provision became law, a bill now headed to Gov. Bill Haslam will finally provide a way to make real-time enforcement a reality.

Senators today voted 26-1 to approve the "James Lee Atwood Jr. Law," which would create a computer system that Tennessee's 95 county clerks would use to check on insurance requirements before issuing vehicle registrations.

"This is something I've taken to heart for a long, long time, and hopefully we won't have too many Mr. Atwoods," said Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro of the 30-year-old man who was killed last year by an uninsured driver who had been previously stopped by police.

"After 40 years of laws on the books," Ketron said, "we are taking a major step."

The bill, previously passed by the House, would affect an estimated one of out every five Tennessee drivers -- about 1.1 million people who drive at some point without insurance.

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