Category Archives: Red Light Cameras
Village officials in west suburban Western Springs say crashes are down at two intersections where red light cameras were installed back in 2009 according to The Doings newspaper.
Crashes dropped at the intersection of Ogden and Wolf Road from an average of 23 in the three years before 2009, to 11 per year since May 2009.
At the village’s other RLC located at 55th and Wolf Road, crashes dropped from seven before the cameras to four in 2009 and just one in 2010, after cameras were installed.
The Illinois Department of Transportation has not released 2011 crash data.
One thing the story and village officials ignored in their analysis is that IDOT changed the way crashes are documented back in 2009–the year the cameras were installed in Western Springs.
One irate woman driver reported to the Chicago Tribune’s Problem Solver column that she was issued a red light camera ticket in Hillside even though she was in a funeral procession.
She allegedly fought the RLC ticket and lost, with the hearing officer upholding the violation. That’s despite the fact being part of a funeral procession is one of the very few circumstances that can be raised as a legitimate legal defense for a red light camera violation. The driver even brought documentation to prove her case.
After complaining to the Problem Solver column, writer Jon Yates contacted Hilliside. The back pedaling by Hillside was furious and fast with village officials claiming they had offered to clear up the situation when the driver complained to them immediately after the original hearing date.
RLC Lawsuits Have Poor Record Of Success In Illinois
Mere minutes before the City Council was posed to vote and pass an ordinance which will eventually make Chicago the speed camera capital of the U.S., a lawyer for Simmons Law Firm was filing a class action lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County attacking the legality of the city’s red light camera program.
This lawsuit, as reported in the Chicago Sun-Times, contends that Chicago did not have legal authority to issue red light camera tickets back in 2003 when the city initiated its RLC program.
It was only after 2006, when the Illinois General Assembly passed its red light camera law that would have allowed Chicago to issue these type of violations according to the complaint. The lawsuit asks to recover the $90 fines (now $100) allegedly unlawfully levied against hundreds of thousands of drivers between 2003 and 2006. A successful case could potentially cost the Chicago tens of millions of dollars in refunds.
But this recent lawsuit is not the first salvo in class action taken against Chicago’s red light cameras and not the first case challenging the legal basis for the law.
The original and similar lawsuit was filed on July 2, 2010 on behalf of Elizabeth M. Keating and Paul W. Ketz against the City of Chicago as well as red light camera companies Redflex Traffic Systems and Redspeed Illinois LLC.
However, that lawsuit was dismissed by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hyman on a motion by the City of Chicago the beginning of August, 2011. But Simmons promptly filed an appeal with the Illinois Appellate Court on August 31, 2011.
One step closer to one second.
Illinois Senate Bill 3504, or the “One Second For Safety” bill got passed 43-5 this evening in Springfield.
The bill wants to add one second of time to the yellow light interval at intersections where red light camera enforcement is being utilized.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Dan Duffy (R-Barrington), who relied on research which seems to demonstrate that adding a second of yellow light time at RLC intersections reduces the number of drivers running the red light and therefore reduces crashes and improves traffic safety.
Drivers have complained for years that red light camera intersections with artificially short yellow light times are partially to blame for many of the millions of dollars of $100 RLC tickets issued over the years.
The bill now moves to the Illinois House of Representatives.
CBS 2 weighs in on the “One Second for Safety” bill to extend yellow light times at red light camera intersections in Illinois, and interviews Sen. Dan Duffy, the bill’s sponsor.
Here’s CBS 2′s full report, “Lawmaker Wants Longer Yellow Lights At ‘Photo Enforced’ Intersections.”
Senator: Agency Against Longer Yellow Light Times At RLC Locations Despite Proof Of Safety Gains
At least according to Illinois State Senator Dan Duffy (R-Barrington).
That’s the reason Duffy says he introduced Senate Bill 3504–to try to improve the safety of Illinois intersections by adding one second or more of yellow light timing to traffic signals at red light camera locations.
Introduced February 8th, SB 3504, or the One Second For Safety bill, simply mandates municipalities or counties utilizing red light camera enforcement, use nationally recognized standards to determine yellow light timing for an RLC intersection and then tack on an additional second.
But, for some reason, according to Senator Duffy, the Illinois Department of Transportation, a state agency that has overseen impressive reductions in traffic accidents and deaths over the past decade through aggressive legislation, programs and initiatives promoting driving safety, is opposed to Duffy’s bill–despite a dearth of evidence to support such a measure.
“IDOT has come out and opposed the bill for ‘safety concerns’,” says Duffy. “I say that is an outrageous claim considering all studies show increasing yellow light times by one second drastically reduces red light running. I haven’t seen one study that refutes this. It’s mind boggling IDOT would oppose something that improves safety.”
The Chicago Tribune is reporting the gory details regarding the tremendous loss of revenue the Village of Northfield is facing because of a red light camera taken out of commission due to a construction project.
The RLC was at the intersection of Waukegan and Willow Roads in Northfield and it took in about $550,000 when it was still shooting pictures of drivers unfortunate enough to roll through a right turn on red there the year before.
But, the gravy stopped–when the State of Illinois told Northfield this past July it had to put the camera out of commission until the construction project ended–which was just recently.
CBS 2 investigative reporter Pam Zekman had a report on red light cameras Monday night.
Honestly, Zekman piece is pretty vacuous, with little new information. It’s essentially interviews with drivers who dislike the red light cameras and some revenue numbers from the city and other town’s top performing RLC intersections.
Perhaps the highlight of the piece was her short interview with Prof. Rajiv Shah who’s research (first reported here) which seems to show that RLC in Chicago doesn’t seem to have any effect on reducing crashes.
Read CBS 2′s full story, “2 Investigators: The Red-Light Cameras That Generate The Most Tickets.”
State Senator Chris Lauzen doesn’t like red light cameras.
That’s why, as a candidate for Kane County Board, he’s holding a press conference Thursday at 2 PM at the intersection of Randall Road and Williamsburg Drive in Geneva–the location of a red light camera intersection.
The intersection is geographically relevant to the primary race Lauzen is in as Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns supported the town’s red light camera program.
Geneva has two red-light cameras on Randall Road, at the intersections of Williamsburg Drive and at Fargo Boulevard.
But according to the Kansas City Star at most KC intersections outfitted with red light cameras, crashes have actually risen over the past two years. At least that’s what a study released by the Kansas City Police Department says after they studied over 2500 car crashes at RLC intersections within the city.
The story says the police report shows total accidents increased at 11 of 17 RLC intersections in the second year of the camera enforcement program, jumping 18% compared to the year before. KC’s red light camera program began in 2009.