Watered Down Red Light Camera Bill Trickles Out Of Committee
Cullerton Plays Politics With Anti-RLC Colleague’s Red Light Video
There’s finally a red light camera reform bill headed to the floor of the senate.
But there’s question on whether or not it will actually provide the type of revisions and restrictions anti-red light camera proponents have been asking for.
Monday in Springfield, the Transportation Committee advanced a bill sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) that purportedly gives motorists some red light camera relief.
However, outside of codifying practices already being utilized in red light camera enforcement in Illinois, the only change would be a some flexibility on right on red violations and a limiting the fine to the original amount if the ticket is contested.
Cullerton’s bill would prohibit right on red violations from being issued for making a complete stop that is beyond the stop line or at the crosswalk. Some municipalities do issue tickets for right on red when drivers passed the pavement stop bar, even though they made a complete stop.
Some suburbs with RLC programs will also add extra fees to the ticket if the driver opts to challenge the ticket.
Perhaps the highlight of the committee meeting was President Cullerton’s use of actual red light camera footage to visually demonstrate some of the issues challenging the senators.
However, it turns out the video was documenting the red light camera violation of one of its members, Sen. Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington).
According to Sen. Duffy, President Cullerton replayed the video over and over during the course of the meeting.
“It is really petty,” said Duffy who’s original bill SB 2466, proposed banning all red light cameras statewide. “It’s like when he (Cullerton) moved my parking space when I spoke out on another issue. It’s so silly.”
When asked if the use of enforcement video from an individual’s red light camera ticket was legal, Duffy replied, “My staff is researching that.”
Cullerton’s staff obtained the video of a vehicle registered to Duffy rolling through a right on red turn lane in Schaumburg back in early 2009, via a Freedom of Information Act request.
“It is legal if it is used for legal proceedings or government proceedings,” explained Rikeesha Phelon, spokesperson for Cullerton’s office. “Duffy has been very public about his opposition to red light cameras. That’s why we used this video.”
“Cullerton is yellow about the truth about red light cameras,” laughed Barnet Fagel, of the National Motorists Association. “When I stated we needed more yellow time for safety at all traffic signals, that’s not the type of yellow I was talking about.”
“It’s not reform,” says Scott Davis, Cook County coordinator for Campaign for Liberty. “They can pass the reform bill that has not reforms in it, we’re not going to stop. We’re not giving up.”
“I’m not happy with the bill,” said Sen. Ricky Hendon (D-Chicago) who has been pushing for tougher RLC restrictions. “I still think the bill still needs some massaging. I would like to see a study for one year, to see if red light camera intersections cause more accidents (than they prevent). If it’s not about the revenue and it’s about safety, it should be in there.”
Duffy also doesn’t think the bill goes far enough either and doesn’t plan to vote for the legislation.
“It’s too watered down,” explained Duffy. “I’m not going to support this.”
In the meantime, Davis and other anti-red light camera proponents are planning more RLC protests this Saturday, March 20th.
Video courtesy of the DHStatehouse channel on YouTube.