New Restrictions On Red Light Cameras Being Considered In State Senate

Bill Could End Camera Enforcement Of Right Turn On Red

Last year Illinois State Senator Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington) tried to kill red light camera enforcement statewide.

But Senator Duffy’s “ban the cam” bill ran into a roadblock of sorts.

Duffy’s bill ran afoul of  Senate President John Cullerton, who co-opted the bill with the help of pro-RLC forces.  President Cullerton actually brought in red light camera lobbyists in to help re-write the bill, watering the bill down to be nearly unrecognizable from its original intent.

In the end, the bill got passed as an “RLC reform” bill. A bill ironically, with next to no real reform in it.

But Duffy’s defeat on the issue has not deterred him as this week he tries to take on red light cameras again.

This time he’s attacking RLCs from a different angle.

A right angle.

Duffy recently introduced Senate Bill 26, a bill which would prohibit camera enforcement of right turn on red violations.

“The U.S. Department of Transportation said you can drive from here to Jupiter and back and never been in an incident turning right on red,” says Duffy. “It (right turn on red camera enforcement) has nothing to do with safety. It’s all about revenue and not about safety.”

Duffy contends that 90% of red light camera revenue comes from drivers rolling through a right turn on red (where it’s legally permitted) at just one or two miles per hour instead of coming to a complete stop.

“From the info I have over 90% of the income comes from right turn on red,” says Duffy. “They (RLC companies) will not provide a breakdown of where the revenue comes from. If these figures are wrong, prove me wrong.”

Although Duffy contends by adding this restriction to Illinois law municipalities currently using camera enforcement for right on red violations would see a dramatic drop in revenue, none of the towns we spoke to seemed bothered by SB26.

Village of Bellwood Chief of Staff Peter Tsiolis says their west suburban town only cares about their red light camera program’s impact on safety and says accidents are down at RLC enforced intersections.

“From our perspective, our empirical data shows accidents are down at those intersections,” says Tsiolis. “But if the state legislature passes that bill the Village of Bellwood would not fight the legislation, we’re interested in safety.”

Oak Lawn Village President Dave Heilmann also doesn’t to have problems with SB26.

“I don’t know if I disagree with his legislative proposal,” says Heilmann.

But what about the impact on revenue? Tsiolis says Bellwood sees about a quarter million dollars a year in RLC revenue.

“I don’t know how Duffy’s bill would impact safety,” said Tsiolis. “But from a budgetary perspective we could live without it. In some municipalities where the revenue is important this may have an impact. But if the revenue goes away tomorrow we won’t be devastated in any way.”

While anti-red light camera groups generally support Duffy’s measure, they don’t seem to hold as much enthusiasm for it compared to Duffy’s last year’s proposed anti-RLC bill that would have eliminated the cameras completely.

“The National Motorists Association opposes red-light cameras categorically, and would therefore like to see them prohibited outright,” said NMA President Gary Biller in a recent e-mail blast to Illinois members. “But a bill in Illinois prohibiting their use for right turns on red would reduce the cameras’ ‘productivity’ and therefore might pave the way for an eventual ban.”

Cook County Campaign for Liberty took on red light cameras in a series of protests held at RLC locations around Chicagoland last fall. The group’s Scott Davis seems disappointed in the bill.

“It’s not like I don’t like the idea and while it’s a good incremental move, I don’t understand why we can’t have a bill asking for a complete ban (on RLCs),” says Davis. “As activists, we don’t want to compromise.”

This week, according to Duffy, his bill will be in front of the Transportation Committee where he hopes it will get passed out to be debated and see a vote on the floor of the state Senate. At this point Duffy, thinks his chances of making it out of committee as 50/50 even with Transportation Committee Chairman Martin Sandoval a Democrat who’s also a co-sponsor of SB26.

“This is one of those crossover issues that’s not Republican or Democrat,” says the Republican Duffy of the cross party support he’s already received. “Red light cameras are a big problem for everyone.”

So Duffy is looking for some help and popular support from citizens opposed to camera enforcement of right turn on red and wants people to call and email state senators on the Transportation Committee.

“I need people to contract members of the Transportation Committee,” says Duffy. “Some people (committee members) won’t commit to me.” explains Duffy.

The Expired Meter reached out via e-mail to red light camera vendor Redflex for comment on SB26, but the company never responded.

15 Responses to New Restrictions On Red Light Cameras Being Considered In State Senate

  1. Rinzler says:

    What is so hard with coming to a full and complete stop? We all had drivers ed. It was part of the requirement to get your license.

  2. DC says:

    Yeah, I don’t get it either. It seems like the only problem is some people don’t want to follow the laws (stop at a red light), so they’re trying to make a new law saying they won’t get in trouble if they do…what am I missing?

  3. Joseph J. Finn says:

    Why are people so afraid of red light cameras? Is following the law so hard?

  4. Rinzler, the problem is the cameras are rigged,

  5. Rinzler says:

    I seriously doubt the camera is rigged. In fact, it is my understanding that the camera is an actual video camera that records continuously until the sensor is tripped. At that point, 5-10 seconds prior to the trip is sent off to be viewed with the actual infraction. If a person comes to a full and complete stop, something that was actually taught back in drivers ed, then there should be no problem. If there is a problem, it is because people do not respect the rules of the road.

  6. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Oh boy Rinzler,

    You’ve just waved that red cape in front of a charging bull.

  7. Justice says:

    Here is what ALL of the defenders of the RLCs are missing: Exactly WHAT in the eyes of the law (not the cameras, mind you) constitutes a “full stop”? I’ll bet Rinzler, DC, and Joseph J. Finn would be singing a different tune if they performed some right turns in front of the cameras in Country Club Hills, Illinois. The overwhelming majority of drivers who end up in court for right-turn-on-red “violations” THOUGHT they’d come to a full stop. These are not young, reckless speeders, but middle-aged to senior-aged drivers who are now (many of them) suddenly law-breakers. They didn’t “run” the light. Their heinous violation worthy of a $100 fine? Their tires had not stopped moving COMPLETELY 100%! Oh, and BTW, if you don’t stop BEHIND the white line, that’s a violation! Never mind that most intersections force you to pull up a little to see if there’s oncoming traffic before you turn! So, before you defend these $100 slot machines, ask yourself, if YOU come to a FULL 100% stop, where your tires have stopped moving entirely. No police officer would issue a ticket based on the same visual information; therefore, many are dismissed when the hearing officer watches the video and sees the driver DID stop before entering the intersection. A lot of cops have criticized these “scameras”; studies have shown they DON’T reduce collisions…what more proof do you need, people. They’re just money-making machines for each municipality!

  8. Joseph Davito says:

    I just received a RLC violation and it was for a right on red. It shows two photos, one at the start of the red light, where my vehicle was clearly stopped behind the line and two seconds later when my vehicle was one car length past, hence I stopped and proceeded through per the law. I cannot even stomach the fact that now even though I obeyed the written law, I will have to fork over $100 to the village that I’ve worked in for 19 years.

    I have always considered myself a safe driver and yes, I’m middle aged, but this is really a slap in the face for the hardworking citizens of this state. Is there a new rule that specifies that we need to stop for 2 seconds after the red light changes? If that is the case, where is it written and if not, how can they enforce this violation? Maybe they should be required to post a sign noting this rule so we are not being unfairly charged for a violation that is not law.

    Wake up Illinois and take charge of this injustice! I would rather continue to donate my money to the village through charitable organizations than have it scammed from me by use of these cameras.

    Sorry for the rant, but $100 is a lot especially in this down economy! So much for donating to those charitable organizations this year, maybe the Village will donate for me!

  9. Danimal says:

    Okay there has been actual comprehinsive study on this topic by University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Tampa, FL. This groups entire motive was to see the risk of injuries by accidents with red light cameras and ones without red light cameras. Some of you might find the results suprising. It is about 6 pages long and can be accessed here. But I’ll go into a short summary if you don’t want to read it. It does reference florida quite a bit since the group is located in Florida, however all the factors still exists in Illinois.

    http://health.usf.edu/NR/rdonlyres/C1702850-8716-4C2D-8EEB-15A2A741061A/0/2008pp001008OrbanetalRedLightPaperMarch72008formatted.pdf

    1)Injuries from red light running crashes have steadily decreased since 1998, as have property damage-only crashes from red light running (Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 2006). This nullifies any stats refering to Florida about red light cameras making intersections safer. (this is one of the few things specific to Florida)
    In addition to that there are very effective ways to lower injuries do to crashes in red light running. Somehow Florida was able to reduce the amount by 1/3 in less than a decade without red light cameras.

    2)It goes on to list 6 items that are more effective then installing a camera

    3)It then goes on and lists 4 areas where studies have been done multiple years before AND after the red light cameras have been installed. It goes on and lists these facts…

    For Greensboro cameras were associated with…
    – A signifigant INCREASE (40%) in accident rates
    – A signifigant INCREASE

  10. Danimal says:

    It made moe submit. here is the information continued

    For Greensboro cameras were associated with…
    – A signifigant INCREASE (40%) in accident rates
    – A signifigant INCREASE (40% – 50%) in possible injury crashes
    - NO DECREASE in severe crashes.

    For Virgina cameras were assocated with…
    - A signifigant INCREASE (29%) in total crashes
    - A signifigant INCREASE (20%) in angle crashes
    - A signifigant INCREASE (42%) in rear end crashes, which did NOT decrease over time
    - A significant INCREASE in injury crashes(18%), with the impact on injury severity reported as “too close to call”
    - INCREASES in crash costs

    For Onterio cameras were associated with…
    - 16% INCREASE in crashes, compared to an 8% INCREASE at comparison intersections;
    - 2% INCREASE in injury or fatal crashes, compared to 10% and 12% DECREASES respectively at STEPPED-UP POLIECE enforcement and comparison intersections.

    I then goes on to explain…

  11. Danimal says:

    It then explains that there are holes in the IIHS study that keeps getting refered to in support of the red light cameras…

    1) The first criticism of the IIHS study’s design is that camera intersections were not separately analyzed.

    2) A further criticism of the IIHS study is that the conclusions drawn from the statistical analysis were incorrectly reported. When the results were correctly analyzed for statistical significance, no change in total crashes could be substantiated (Burkey & Obeng, 2004; Kyrychenko & Retting,

    3)The IIHS study did not include areas that didn’t agree with what they wanted their findings to show. Basically they stacked the deck

    4)The IIHS study did not do actual before and after comparisons

    5) Changes attributed to cameras could actually occur from these excluded factors, such as differences in yellow light timings and speed
    limits.

    6) The IIHS study excluded types of crashes at intersections that would not add up to what they want to conclude.

    7) The IIHS study didn’t report on the full statistics! Instead of reporting the full results of the statistical analyses, only an example with made-up numbers was provided.

    8) Crash and injury counts were not reported by intersection or jurisdiction. As such, it is unknown where the favorable experiences
    attributed to cameras actually occurred.

    9) More crashes lead to higher insurance premiums, leading to higher profits, which in turn lead to increases in insurance stock prices.

    It then goes on to explain…

  12. Danimal says:

    It then explains that…

    The elderly are more likely to get in a accident and die or suffer severe injury in intersections with red light cameras.

  13. Danimal says:

    And there are other statistics made by other agencies that do not benifit or suffer from red light cameras. So in reality they make our roads more dangerous once all the facts are put into place. All for what? Some greedy companies that con our local governments to install these dangerous and unreliable devices.

  14. brian says:

    Rinzler, you obviously never read Orwell. That aside, this is only another gov. money making machine, has nothing to do with safety. You gotta be nut’s to be in favor of something as insideous as this scam.

  15. Andrew says:

    Please, help to find in Illinois Rules of the Road, that complete stop is 2 seconds, and not 1.99 second,…not 1.5 second, not 1 second? If it is not written, how can you inforsed?
    Plese, post the page number. Thanks a lot.

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