They’re out there. They’re waiting for you to make that one wrong decision and then snap, it’s too late. They’ve got you and a ticket with a hefty fine is coming in the mail.
We all have our own thoughts about what “bad driving” is. Could range from speeding to tail gating to no turning signal used. In a previous post, we showed you an infographic that revealed what bugs us all most about other drivers. Strangely, running red lights was not on the list. Of all the dangerous things you can do with the exception of passing in a no visual, no-passing zone on the highway, running a red light would have to be considered bad. It’s more than annoying really. It could well be deadly.
Running red lights may be one of the most frequent driver transgressions too. Today, there are more traffic signals and more traffic on the roads. If even a small percentage of drivers get impulsive or careless at intersections, it still means a lot of potential damage and trauma. The Ontario government knows this and they’ve permitted municipalities to install traffic cameras to record vehicles passing through red light signals. York region has 20 red light cameras installed at this time.
The Red Light Camera Enforcement Program is intended to improve driver and pedestrian safety by reducing the number of right-angle collisions occurring within intersections. Motorists drive through red lights for a variety of reasons, including (but not limited to):
It is a controversial practice to use robotic devices to surveil people in public and there are those who believe the red light fines are just a cash grab for municipalities (the lights cost $3.7 million and current fines are at $4.5 million, so they are making money off of it). And then others feel a little calmer about going through intersections. We’ve all probably had that little fear or doubt as we enter an intersection that someone is going to run a red light.
If drivers know the camera exists, they probably will apply the break when they see the amber light.
For whatever reason, there aren’t police officers patrolling intersections at all hours of the day, so the cameras do look to be a good thing for everyone, even if it might be a cash grab by the government.
So, let’s say you’re in a hurry one morning to get to work and you see the amber light and step on the gas to get through the intersection before the light goes red. But, you don’t make it through and the camera takes a picture.
That’s not all it does. It records the time of day including the exact time of the incident, your speed, and your license plate number.
Running a red light means you’ve entered the intersection after the light has turned red. That’s after a fairly significant time period, so the picture is taken of a vehicle very late coming through.
Many drivers have complete faith in the traffic signal system and automatically apply the accelerator to go when their light turns green. You can see how a tragic and costly accident can occur.
Look at the red light cameras this way. They deter those awful accidents we saw in the past and the loss of life. That could be you as the victim, or it could be you caught by an actual police officer. Then you’d be facing much higher insurance and demerit points. An ounce of prevention’s worth a pound of cure.
Although these tickets won’t affect your demerit points and driving record or auto insurance rates, it is wise not to speed through amber lights or red lights. One serious accident could change your life. Please drive safely.
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