GMAC Auto Insurance Company

According to experts at GMAC Auto Insurance Company, many cities in recent years have been introduced to new red light speeding cameras. You may have seen them popping up at interceptions across the country. Many drivers have mixed feelings about them. Some see them as a violation of their privacy, and others consider them as revenue boosters for the local government. Of course many drivers are concerned about how these new red light cameras will affect their auto insurance rates.

The Red Light Camera System and Your Auto Insurance Policy

A red light camera system is a sophisticated piece of equipment made up of three simple components: one or more cameras, one or more triggers, and a computer. The cameras are normally positioned at all four corners of an intersection. This makes it easy to get photos of cars at different angles and directions. The trigger detects when a car passes a certain point in the road. The computer regulates the light and trigger.

One reason that these are highly effective in catching speeders is that drivers aren’t usual as aware of them. Compare that to a trooper or police car parked along the side of road where drivers are used to quickly slowing down. The city not only earns revenue from those speeding tickets, they also save money paid to already overworked and understaffed police departments. But how well do they work?

Do Red Light Cameras Really Work?

Most of the cities using the red light speeding camera program have reported positive results from their investment. The cameras work by taking a photo of your car from a distance. The camera also takes a close up shot of your car to show the license plate number. Once a violator’s information is captured, a ticket is mailed to the registered owner of the car.

You’ve been Issued A Citation Even Though You Weren’t Driving

But what if you are the registered owner of the car receiving the ticket but you weren’t driving? This is where much of the controversy surrounding the red light speeding camera program. Some states allow residents to contest the traffic citation if they were not the one driving. Other states take an opposite stance of the issue. They say that the owner is responsible regardless of who was driving.

Red Light Cameras Encourage Good Driver Behavior

The Institute for Highway Safety evaluated the red light speeding programs in both Oxford, California and Fairfax City, VA. They found in both cities the overall rate of traffic violations dropped by at least 40 percent during the first year. Interestingly they also report that drivers who followed the law at the interceptions with the red light camera lights did the same at intersections without the lights as well. So despite its “Big Brother” feel, they do seem to accomplish what they were designed to do. Still, there are other concerns.

Do Red Light Cameras Cause Accidents?

Some city and state officials argue that the use of red light speeding camera lights could be increasing harm to unsuspecting motorists. Recent studies at intersections monitored by the cameras show an increase in the number of rear end collisions. The explanation is that once the light turns yellow, many drivers are slamming on their brakes to getting a citation for running the red light. Studies conducted by the Virginia Department of transport show that even though the incidence of rear end collisions increased, the rate of more serious side impact crashes caused by motorists running the red light have decreased.

Red Light Camera Tickets and Your Insurance Rates

Interestingly, any tickets generated as a result of red light speeding cameras are considered a civil penalty. This means that they don’t normally result in points on the offender’s license or increase your insurance rate. Surprising isn’t it? Still, safe driving whether when someone else is watching or not is always the best bet for both your safety and your auto insurance premiums.

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