Red light cameras could catch uninsured

March 17, 2009 8:15:41 AM PDT
The city of Chicago may have another way to help fill a $200 million deficit-- and it affects anyone who drives.The city may use red light cameras to crack down on uninsured drivers. Some people say they do not like red light cameras at all, but they also say that they do not mind the idea of targeting the uninsured.

The hundreds of red light cameras across the city automatically snap photos of drivers who blow through intersections when the light turns red. Those drivers then get a ticket in the mail.

But the red light cameras could soon catch other offenders. Fourteenth Ward Alderman Ed Burke is backing a measure to use the network of cameras to bust drivers who don't have insurance.

Michigan-based InsureNet presented the proposal before the City Council Committee on Transportation and the Public Way Monday. If the proposal makes it through council, uninsured drivers could face a fine of up to $500. It's estimated that those fines could raise $200 million a year for the cash-strapped city budget. That would be enough to fill the deficit for 2009.

"It's also somewhat transparent that the city is doing everything they can to get money from places that may not be fair and equitable all the time," said Paul Brown.

"I pay insurance. I think everyone should pay insurance. If you are getting hit by an uninsured driver, you know you have to pay the price. I think it's only fair that everyone have insurance," said Margaret Barlett.

Auto insurance companies would also have to participate in this plan by supplying lists of people who do have insurance. Of course, this may cause a little bit of controversy with people who just think that there are too many cameras in too many places.