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Question of the day

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Illinois Review

Calling red light cameras nothing more than revenue generators for municipalities, State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) has introduced a package of legislation aimed at banning the use of red light cameras in Illinois.

“Red light cameras do not enhance public safety, but they do help local governments generate revenue,” McSweeney said. “Raising revenue is not a valid reason to continue the red light camera program in Illinois.”

House Bill 472 bans the use of red light cameras in Illinois and House Bill 473 bans red light cameras in non-home rule units. McSweeney sponsored similar legislation to stop non-home rule communities from using red light cameras in 2015. The legislation passed the Illinois House with 79 votes.

McSweeney said studies continue to show the ineffectiveness of red light cameras to improve public safety. A series of media reports have clearly demonstrated how the implementation of red light camera systems has been rife with abuse and is seen by many as more of a money making endeavor for local governments than a measure to promote safety.

“Studies have shown how the presence of red light cameras can actually create more rear-end collisions,” McSweeney said. “The perception of many Illinois residents is that these cameras are nothing more than an additional way to tax Illinois residents and raise revenue for Illinois municipalities. It is time to eliminate red light cameras.”

* The Question:  Should red light cameras be banned by the state? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

survey services


  1. - Rocky Rosi - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:28 pm:

    No vote. The state is broke and we all know the red light cameras are for revenue. Just don’t run red lights if you don’t want a ticket.

  2. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:30 pm:

    No. I wonder how many of the yes votes have received well-deserved tickets.

  3. - Big Joe - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:31 pm:

    Voted NO. It’s truly not very hard to come to a complete stop at redlights. I know, I do it all the time.

  4. - AlfondoGonz - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:32 pm:

    Yes, because they have proven to be dangerous time and time again.

  5. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:35 pm:

    We could use them in Springfield, heck with all the people who run “amber” lights we could balance the states budget and it may save someone’s life.

  6. - The Dude Abides - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    Yes, because they do more harm than good. Sometimes you are too close to the intersection to stop when the light changes from green to yellow. You continue on and the light changes from yellow to red when you are halfway thru the intersection. By the time the cross traffic gets the green light and moves forward you are thru the intersection anyway. This has nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with coming up with more ways to increase revenue.

  7. - Skeptic - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    YES! (with a shout.) It isn’t always necessary to come to a complete stop to be safe. We’ve seen time and again how “zero tolerance” policies(which red-light cameras are) are ineffective.

  8. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:41 pm:

    Yes. They cause me to drive more recklessly than I would without them.

  9. - Lefty Lefty - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:42 pm:

    Dude–I learned on this site after my Hillside episode that yellow lights are green lights, i.e., you can legally enter the intersection during a yellow light. I was all set to dispute a ticket in that case, but I didn’t receive one.

    Skeptic–with all due respect, you’re part of the problem. Unless you have a spider-sense you need to stop at red lights and stop signs.

  10. - Tim - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:43 pm:

    No. Everybody hates them, but they work.

  11. - Citizen A - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:45 pm:

    Yes, although it does generate revenue for The governing body, it , also, generates a distrust between citizen and government. It is very, very impersonal and causes the citizen to feel distrusted and used by the government.

  12. - Judgment Day - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:47 pm:

    YES. The whole idea (originally) was to place red light cameras at the most dangerous locations. What happened was they ended up placing these things anywhere where they could generate the most revenue.

    These things are clogging up the traffic courts and what they are doing is alienating the general public. It just comes across as one more government scam being run against the taxpayers.

  13. - Perrid - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:50 pm:

    No. If a camera makes people pay more attention, or makes them think twice about being an a** and not run a light, I’m all for it. McSweeney says that they don’t increase public safety, but I don’t take his word for that. Knowing its there would act as a deterrent for most people I think. and while there might be an increase in rear endings, I would take that over being T boned in the middle of an intersection.

  14. - atbat - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:50 pm:

    Government should not rely on these types of revenue raising devices, they are an unholy combination of Big Brother and Louis XIV.

  15. - UIC Guy - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:51 pm:

    YES. If the laws (no turn on red at given light, for example)are bad, they should be changed. But don’t blame the enforcement mechanism. If you’ve got good laws, they ought to be enforced as much as is practicable. And if doing so raises money for municipalities along the way, so much the better. (And yes, I have been caught by a camera and paid a fine and it worked: I won’t do that again.)

  16. - Come on Man! - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:51 pm:

    Some levity on the subject.

  17. - Geesh - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:52 pm:

    Another “Bend Over Tax”. /S

  18. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:53 pm:

    No. It’s the best way to ease into full blown 1984

  19. - NobodysAccountable - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:53 pm:

    I voted no. What is the goal? Do you want to spend your tax dollars on resources patrolling for traffic offenses or spending time addressing more mission critical issues? Do you want to change people’s behavior or just create revenue?

  20. - Ahoy! - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:58 pm:

    Voted No, they make sense at some intersections. Also, there are varying degrees of studies, so we shouldn’t just use the ones we like.

    I do agree with the sentiment that red light camera’s should not be seen a source of revenue but as a source to provide safer travel. If collecting revenue is the problem, maybe an enterprise fund could be created and dedicated to traffic calming and other safety measures.

  21. - tobias846 - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:00 pm:

    I voted no. It’s easy to avoid running red lights. Despite what some people think, you don’t get a ticket if you’re already in the intersection when the light changes from amber to red.

    I see people sneaking through left turn red lights multiple times a day. Why people think this is okay, I have no idea.

  22. - Denise - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:04 pm:

    If the city and state would stop just using them for revenue and to truly make some intersections and roads safer I am all for it! But that’s not what they are doing. Case in point. You get off the Kennedy at Ohio. The north bound movement of Orleans is sitting in your way. What if there was a camera there and nailed everyone who sits in the intersection with a $200 ticket?? Lots of revenue and I bet a lot of changed habits!

  23. - CLJ - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:06 pm:

    No. They should be expanded to every intersection as well as intersections with stop signs. Driving is not a right, it is a privilege.

    Should municipalities reset the timing of the lights so they are more predictable and fair? Absolutely yes.

  24. - KAA-boom - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:11 pm:

    These devices can enhance safety by modifying driver behavior, IF deployed properly and for that purpose. We should not throw the baby out with the bathwater. And, having automated traffic enforcement is just like applying technology to any other local government process - it can improve efficiency, lower costs, and allow for law enforcement resources to be allocated to higher priority issues.

    And let’s not forget that the GA banned the use of ticket quotas for police officers, so there’s nothing that local governments can do to force tickets to be written related to traffic enforcement, even if constituents want it.

  25. - Dome Gnome - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:12 pm:

    Yes, because my own driving is safer when I’m driving in communities without them. I’ve never received a ticket but I’ve been involved in some close calls with accidents from having to stop suddenly to avoid getting “caught” by the cameras. I’m a law-abiding citizen and I hate feeling like I can’t safely comply with the law.

  26. - walker - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:14 pm:

    No. No overriding reason for the state to intrude in this local issue. And in my surrounding suburbs, they have in fact, been proven net positive in terms of safety.

  27. - Red Light Cameras Unsafe - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:15 pm:

    Of course they should be banned. They were allowed under the guise of safety, when all data proves anything but. Accidents increase in intersections with red light cameras.

  28. - Chicago_Downstater - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:17 pm:

    Yes, because they are actually a public safety hazard.

    Now if they wanted to lengthen the yellow light–something that has actually been proven to decrease accidents at stoplights–then I’m all for keeping red light cameras.

    You’d effectively be increasing public safety & ticketing only the people that are a significant menace to other drivers versus your average driver.


  29. - Texas Red - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:19 pm:

    Red Light Cameras should go - they infringe on the rights of an individual to face their accuser in court. If an officer writes a citation, the accused offender can offer his/her explanation to a judge - not so with these darn cameras.

  30. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:21 pm:

    No but I worry about them increasing rear-end accidents in places like Chicago where the yellow light is closer to 3 seconds instead of 5. Make people more likely to slam on their brakes for a yellow to avoid a ticket, only to get rear-ended by the person behind them.

  31. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:23 pm:

    I haven’t seen any evidence of a reduction of this behavior so all we’re doing is using these people as a cash cow.

  32. - Amalia - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:25 pm:

    just when I think I’m getting a red light ticket, I don’t get one. the execution of the product seems questionable. it seems to result in dangerous driving, stopping too soon, or speeding up to beat the light.

  33. - Huh? - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:29 pm:

    McSweeney must have gotten a ticket. I personally don’t like them because of the lack of or poor advanced warning that a particular intersection has red light cameras.

    The State doesn’t get any money from the cameras. It all stays local.

  34. - Skeptic - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:36 pm:

    Lefty Lefty: With all due respect, when you can see 1/2 mile down the road and not see any cars, it doesn’t take spidey senses to see that a full stop is not necessary.

  35. - AC - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:43 pm:

    Voted yes, I’ve seen too many abuses over the years, including manipulating yellow light timing to maximize profits by vendors. Where there’s enough space, roundabouts are a much better way of reducing injuries and improving traffic flow.

  36. - anonymous retiree - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:52 pm:

    Yes, and the bill should ban Rahm’s alleged speed cameras. They are simply a revenue generator.

  37. - Put the fun in unfunded - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:52 pm:

    Yes, at least as to right turn on red, which is a significant percentage of tickets and not the “safety hazard” originally claimed. I have never received a red light running ticket; I did get a right on red ticket but beat it at the hearing (municipality did not follow state requirements).

  38. - Bogey Golfer - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 4:05 pm:

    About five years ago, did receive a ticket for such a violation at IL 83 and 75th Street in Willowbrook. Protective (Exclusive) Left-turn movement. Entered on the yellow arrow. Extremely wide intersection and inadequate yellow time.

  39. - A guy - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 5:03 pm:

    It’s a record day. Even McSweeney gets it right on rare occasion. Get rid of them. They are a net safety negative, and the due process is undue. Cops wouldn’t ticket these drivers; but technology technically gets you on a technicality.

    If you asked them to leave them up and ONLY ticket red light runners….they’d run with their cameras. Those are a very, very rare bonus. It’s the right turners that fill the jug. To the point people just wait for green, and people behind them get it and understand now. Get rid of ‘em.

  40. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 5:24 pm:

    It’s nice to see someone step up and carry on in the fine tradition of Dan Duffy.

  41. - West Sider - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 5:25 pm:

    Wow.I completely agree with A Guy. Even when they are not on my way, the random strobe flashes have caused me to startle and over steer.

    But the larger point is that they, along with other small municipal injustices are why people hate government- far,more than, the State/Federal stuff.

  42. - CrispyCritter - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 5:25 pm:

    Yes, I received a red light camera ticket and paid $100 but still filed a complaint as I said the camera was delayed 3 seconds so I started turning when the light turned green and zap, I got a ticket. I had come to a complete stop. About a year later it was determined the cameras were rigged to do this and I got $20 back. Taken ‘em ALL out.

  43. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 5:57 pm:

    You bet they should take out all the cameras.

    They should also investigate the cash flows to the politicians and police chiefs who championed theses abusive devices. Do you really think that only Chicago officials were ‘compensated’?

  44. - The Dude Abides - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 6:03 pm:

    OK, the poll results are running about 3-1 in favor of the ban. Legislature, lets get this done!

  45. - Ann - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 6:52 pm:

    I’ve never been caught by one, but the recent investigative work done by our west suburban papers convinced me they’re a total scam. I voted yes, but the obvious compromise would be that they can’t ticket for right turns on red, which is where all the money is being made and no lives are being saved.

  46. - Ann - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 6:54 pm:

    And adding, that ever since I read the article about $20 million (!!) collected just at the corner of Harlem and Cermak, I now avoid that intersection entirely–and the stores that surround it.

  47. - justacitizen - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 9:25 pm:

    Take them out. I got a ticket and paid and protested it and got a % refund. If they aren’t 100% correctly calibrated, they should not be generating revenue - sometimes unwarranted.

  48. - Macomb Resident - Friday, Jan 27, 17 @ 8:07 am:

    Yes, ban them. Red light cameras ae revenue generators, not public safety enhancers.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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