Yesterday TUAW published a story about an American who was pulled over by the police and then fined for not being able to prove that they had car insurance. They got out of the fine by loading up the insurer's website on their iPhone and showing their policy that way. What shocked me was that you can actually be fined for failing to demonstrate that you have car insurance in the USA. It seems a little ridiculous to me, because in the UK it is so different. Here there is a national insurance database which all of the car insurance companies contribute to. The police have access to this and use it to check whether people have insurance without pulling them over. Sometimes they use cameras in their police cars which automatically scan registration plates and check whether there is a policy active on the car. If not, they pull that person over and arrest them. Here, the insurance companies advise against carrying insurance documentation in the car, for the simple reason that if the car was in an accident there is the possibility that the documentation could be destroyed by fire or the crash. In the UK, the police spend their time more wisely and stop uninsured drivers from costing legitimate road users significant amounts of money. So why isn't it like this in the USA? Why are the police wasting their time pulling over and then fining people even if they have insurance cover?