SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)– Since July 1, the Illinois Secretary of State’s office has caught thousands of uninsured drivers.

Nearly 7,000 letters were sent out to motorists who either did not have insurance or the Secretary of State’s office was unable to verify it, according to Spokesperson Henry Haupt. He said that’s the latest number as of last week.

The state has always been responsible for verifying insurance, but now that process is happening in the background and it affects everyone.

Before the Electronic Automobile Insurance Verification rollout, it was done randomly. About 300,000 car owners were selected to mail in proof of insurance each year, according to Haupt, a fraction of the state’s population of more than 12 million.

As of July 1, everyone’s insurance will now be checked twice a year. Haupt said this was put in place to hold all uninsured drivers accountable and to keep them off of the road.

Plus, now that the system is set up, drivers nor the state have to do anything unless they’re uninsured. In that case, the driver is sent a letter. They’re given some time to get fully insured. If that doesn’t happen, their license plate(s) is suspended and replaced with a $100 fine.

That’s happened to about 2,700 people in the last two months, according to Haupt who referenced data also updated last week.

“One of the worst things that happen to someone is when they get involved in a crash and the person who hits them doesn’t have automobile insurance,” he explained. “So this program definitely and strongly encourages everyone to get automobile insurance, because if you don’t have it, it will catch you and your license plates will be suspended.”

Haupt said the program seems to be working without any technical hitches. It requires the help of insurance companies to provide driver data. A vast majority of companies are complying, Haupt added.

He said the program is paid for by the insurance companies and puts no burden on the taxpayer. Illinois is one of the first several states to implement automatic verification, and Haupt said it’s here to stay.