Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear signed off on legislation at the end of March that legalizes use of electronic devices as an acceptable way to display proof of car insurance, making it the third state to do so this year.

Jeffrey Junkas, a regional manager for trade organization Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), called legalization of so-called “e-cards” “good news for consumers and the courts.”

“Without this bill, insurers are still required to send paper ID cards to each customer,” Junkas said in a statement. “This measure will enable insurers to keep up with consumer behavior and offer more convenient options for those that want to go paperless.”

Under Kentucky’s HB 164, signed into law on March 22, an e-card means “an insurance card in an electronic format” that displays “an image subject to immediate download or transmission from the applicant’s insurer or agent to the applicant on any portable electronic device.”

The new law further describes what drivers are allowed to do when proving that they have valid auto insurance in Kentucky, stating that an acceptable e-card does “not include a photographic copy of a paper insurance card on a portable electronic device.”

Kentucky is the first state to explicitly state in its e-card measure that only real-time downloaded images will suffice and that photographed displays of policy cards are not allowed.

##Electronic Proof Active in Other States

Kentucky is the third state to fully legalize e-cards in 2013.

In Arkansas, Gov. Mike Beebe signed SB 243 as Act 175 in early March and allowed e-cards as valid proof of coverage, while Wyoming did so in mid-March with SF 87.

In other states, such legislation is in various stages of the legislative process.

In Colorado, HB 1159 has been signed by leading lawmakers in both the state House and Senate and awaits a final decision from the governor. State regulations had allowed electronic proof to be used during the registration process, but HB 1159 would replicate the procedure of coverage proof to also include traffic stops.

Two pieces of e-card legislation in Texas passed their first committee recently. SB 181 received a favorable report in the Senate Transportation Committee on March 25, while HB 239 received its favorable report in the House Technology Committee on March 18.

Last year, Arizona, Idaho, Minnesota, Louisiana and California all passed “e-card” measures.