by Mike Masnick

Insurance Industry Makes $680 Million Off Cameras

from the how-the-process-works dept

Bob Dole, our resident hater of speed cameras, writes "A bit of UK news sheds light on the motivation behind backers of red light and speed camera enforcement. It describes how those who get one of those tickets will pay an extra $332 in insurance premiums. A second costs $870 and a third means an extra $2,405, paid every year. Now, it's obvious why cities like cameras -- they bring in millions of dollars with no effort -- but until now it has been hard to question the motivation of "safety advocates" like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the leading U.S. proponent of the technology. You know IIHS: they're the crash test dummy people who ensure our cars become safer. Today's London Evening Standard, however, describes a report that calculated the amount of annual profit UK insurance companies will enjoy from these premium hikes: $680 million dollars. There are no comparable U.S. figures, but as California and Arizona both assess points on licenses for camera tickets, you can assume a similar windfall that, in turn, directly benefits the Insurance Institute. This helps explain why evidence of the ineffectiveness of cameras such as the recent UK study and other proof is often ignored in favor of additional cameras installations. This is a multi-billion dollar (and pound) operation." I don't find this all that shocking. Most people know that speeding tickets are seen more as a source of revenue than as a real effort to improve safety, and as such, it's not too difficult to follow the money trail.

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  1. identicon
    Beck, 27 Oct 2003 @ 5:23pm

    Probabilities and Groups

    The group of drivers rated as "good drivers" includes a number of people who are habitual speeders who have just never been caught. Now that those undetected speeders are being weeded out of the "good driver" group and given a higher insurance premium, shouldn't the rates for the true "good drivers" decrease? After all, the number of claims paid by the insurance companies will be the same, it's just that the insurance companies have a better idea of who specifically is likely to cause the claims.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    dorpus, 27 Oct 2003 @ 5:54pm

    Re: Probabilities and Groups

    Exactly what I was about to say. There are the uncouth fellows who have managed not to get a record, only because they are good at dodging cops. There's no reason why good drivers should have to pay for their habits in the long run. Conversely, people who got clobbered with traffic tickets may be careful drivers who just had bad luck. More intrusive technologies will tell insurance companies all of these things, so they can set fairer rates.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    aNonMooseCowherd, 27 Oct 2003 @ 6:18pm

    No Subject Given

    Most people know that speeding tickets are seen more as a source of revenue than as a real effort to improve safety

    I don't know that. While riding a bicycle, I was hit and seriously injured by a car which I suspect was going about twice the speed limit, but I had no way to prove it. If cameras can prevent this sort of thing and are accurate, I'm all for them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    alternatives, 27 Oct 2003 @ 9:55pm

    And I'm all for a slow 'protest'

    And I'm all for dropping ones speed to the legally slowest speed (45 on the 64 freeway, no idea what it is in the 35 zone) as a way of showing ones opposition.

    Kind of like the local cyclists who got tickets for passing stopped cars on the right. They started riding smack dab in the middle of the road. If they were going to be considered 'traffic' ala the tickets, then damnit they were going to take thier section of road.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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