Burn it!” says Tennessee State Representative Andy Holt in a recent Facebook video. Then he does just that, holding up a copy of a traffic camera citation, taking the flame from a cigarette lighter to it. But should any citation be treated so cavalierly? The Tennessee lawmaker is known for shocking statements that make the news but is he wrong here?
When it comes to tickets given out by camera, more and more cities are backing off enforcement of them. Typically, because these tickets are not written by a police officer, they are classified as civil penalties. That means that while there is a fine, there is no reporting of the offense to the DMV, which means no points or higher insurance premiums. This knowledge leads a lot of folks to simply ignore the ticket altogether and not pay the fine. That doesn’t mean a city won’t put you in collections over the fine.
That said, what works in Holt’s state of Tennessee may not work in yours. And just because points are not likely, doesn’t mean they can’t happen. Many folks also operate under the philosophy of “Well I’ll just pay the fine” to make it go away. In Colorado, a red light camera ticket is worth 4 points on your record. In Georgia and North Caroline, you’ll see 3 points added to your record. In California, it’s a one point violation. I will state unequivocally that Arizona is an absolute state-wide red light/speed camera trap. A ticket will get you 2 points there and on top of any fine, you’ll spend an additional $150-$250 in court/state fees for traffic school to clear your record.
And if you want to watch Rep. Holt burn a red light camera ticket, well, it might be therapeutic!