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Will Your Insurance Be Affected if You Pay a Red Light Ticket?

It’s a familiar experience for all too many drivers: after squeezing too late through an intersection and running a red light, they see the telltale flash of a red light camera and know that they will receive a ticket in the mail within a few weeks. Aside from the financial burden of paying off the ticket in the first place, many drivers wonder whether dealing with this red light ticket will have a lasting a negative effect on their car insurance payments. The short answer is that it depends; it is worth looking into this issue more closely and identifying the full effects of a red light ticket.

How serious is a red light ticket?
It is important to review state-by-state regulations concerning red light tickets, but there are some constants that anyone who receives one of these tickets should take into account. One is how red lights are considered under their state’s traffic laws: the fines for the ticket could vary from $50 to over $100. In the majority of cases, however, red light tickets do not result in any points being added to a driver’s license. Red light tickets can also be tricky to fight in a court of law: it often requires having photographic evidence – which is sometimes captured by a separate camera that records the entire intersection, including when a car passed through the intersection – that a driver did not actually run the red light and that they are being charged improperly. Given the efficacy of modern-day red light cameras, these situations are increasingly rare. Thus, it can be very difficult to get out of a red light ticket once it has been sent.

Are there insurance repercussions?
The last thing any driver wants is to have a one-time mistake of running a red light lead to a long-term increase in insurance payments. In general, red light tickets do not typically carry insurance repercussions, but there are exceptions. Essentially, most states do not consider a ticket incurred as a result of a red light camera to be an insurance event, and thus tickets can be paid without lasting effects on insurance payments. However, some states also build an incentive to pay off the fine in a timely manner into their law. For instance, in Florida, a red light ticket that remains unpaid 30 days after the violation is upgraded into a uniform traffic citation. This means that not only is there an increased fine that the driver is liable to pay, but also that the violation will be included on an individual’s driving record. As this record is visible to insurance companies, it can result in an increase in insurance rates.

In sum, it is vital that a driver both understands their state-specific driving laws concerning red light cameras and the potential repercussions that result from a ticket not paid in a timely manner. In some cases, it may be essential to pay off a ticket as soon as possible.

Will You Have Points on Your License Because of a Red Light Camera?

Every year, approximately 2.9 million people in the United States are cited for moving violations. These include speeding tickets, DUIs, reckless driving, expired tags, no proof of insurance and more. For many local governments, revenue from moving violations forms a significant part of the government revenue.

Under the guise of public safety, many local governments are erecting red light cameras to catch drivers. In some cases, the orange signal on a red light is intentionally shortened to increase the number of people caught in an intersection during a red light. While this practice goes against federal law, more and more people are finding themselves victims of red light cameras.

It’s important to understand the differences between a citation issued through a red light camera and one issued through a law enforcement officer. Since the evidence gathered by a red light camera is more easy to challenge than the word of a law enforcement officer, many people can get tickets from these systems dismissed. If an orange light is displayed for less than three seconds, a ticket can usually be dismissed.

In most states, running a red light is an offense that can result in points on a driver’s license. However, the ability of the state to submit points to a driver’s license is contingent on the way that evidence is gathered in a case. If a law enforcement officer catches an individual running a redlight, an individual will usually receive points on his or her driver’s license. However, most states limit license points in a situation where a crime is recorded through a red light camera.

If you’ve received a ticket from a red light camera, it’s a good idea to return to the intersection and film the red light sequence. If the orange light is displayed for less than three seconds, the red light is set up in violation of the law. Many local governments attempt to set the orange sequence as low as possible to increase the number of red light violation tickets issued. However, this practice is illegal on a federal level. It’s important to make sure that you document as much evidence as possible when you receive a red light ticket.