Red Light Cameras and Car Insurance

Read now for the truth about red light cameras and car insurance. The fact of the matter is that these traffic cameras can actually increase auto insurance rates, and increase DMV and Emergency Services costs as well. Some states have been found guilty of shortening yellow lights, and others are using the cameras to find uninsured drivers. Learn more below and find cheaper insurance rates with our free quote comparison tool.

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Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Nov 15, 2020

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Nobody likes those cameras that are mounted at highway exits and intersections, designed to catch speeders on film. But the fact is, they are virtually everywhere. These cameras are said to reduce accidents by giving people traffic tickets in their mailbox instead of being pulled over in dangerous traffic conditions.

The theory behind these cameras is that they provide the benefit of reduced car insurance costs because people will drive safer, knowing that these cameras can catch reckless drivers in the act. It has also been stated that these cameras save taxpayer money as well. All of these things have been said, but the truth is these statements are false.

There may be an increased risk of accidents in areas where these cameras are located. People get nervous about the prospect of getting a ticket in the mail and have been known to slam on the breaks to avoid getting their picture taken. This can cause accidents to increase.

It is worth noting that some studies do prove these cameras reduce accidents, but every study that supports this fact has been funded by car insurance companies.

Is this a coincidence or are the results being returned from these studies skewed?

On the flip side, studies performed at the University of South Florida, North Carolina, Ontario Canada and Virginia show evidence that traffic cameras are not effective. Worse than being ineffective, these studies show that traffic cameras actually compound and increase severe accidents.

There is an organization that receives a lot of its funding from car insurance companies called the IIHS, or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This institute is the only one that has released study findings that indicate that traffic cameras are effective.

Analysis of the IIHS findings has revealed that there are some “major research design flaws” like incomplete statistics being used and bad analysis techniques too. The fact of the matter is that these traffic cameras that are funded by the public, result in increased DMV costs, Emergency Services costs and actually increase car insurance rates.

On a disappointing and related note, there have been several cities in the U.S. that have been found guilty of an insidious new practice. These cities have shortened the time of yellow lights in their districts. These shortened yellow lights cause more people to run red lights.

Another name for this practice is entrapment. Among the cities found guilty of this practice are Chattanooga, Tennessee and Union City, California. There are others that may be found guilty of this kind of driver entrapment in the near future.

A Michigan company called InsureNet has proposed using traffic cameras to identify uninsured drivers in Chicago. According to the ABA Journal, an Internet legal website, there are many jurisdictions across the country that are considering similar moves to what InsureNet has proposed. T

he cameras would take pictures of license plates and the plate numbers would be run against a database program to determine drivers that are driving without car insurance. This is a disturbing trend in the legal system. InsureNet even stated that in addition to Chicago, they anticipate 3 or 4 more states to sign on for this program in the very near future.

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