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Question of the day

Thursday, Sep 22, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From SB1297, filed during the 101st General Assembly

Thirty days after the effective date … the [Illinois Department of Transportation] shall conduct a study evaluating automated traffic law enforcement systems in this State. … (T)he Department shall file a report with the General Assembly which shall include input from local law enforcement on the overall operation, usage, permit process, and regulation of automated traffic law enforcement systems and any recommendations the Department deems necessary.

That’s the bill that got Sen. Emil Jones III (D-Chicago) in trouble with the federal government. A SafeSpeed executive freaked out about it, so Jones allegedly agreed to amend the bill in exchange for a bribe and a job for an as-yet unnamed individual.

And that got me to thinking that maybe Illinois should mandate a comprehensive study by IDOT of red light and speed cams along with specific recommendations for focusing the usage on actual public safety rather than on dollars and cents.

* The Question: Should the General Assembly pass a similar bill next spring? Explain.


  1. - DuPage Dad - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 12:06 pm:

    Possibly. My issue is that I don’t trust IDOT to issue a fair report.

  2. - New Day - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 12:06 pm:

    Yes. It would create great new opportunities for even more corruption the Feds could uncover.

  3. - Tony Dekalb - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 12:16 pm:

    Absolutely. There are too many questions surrounding red light cameras and the like. Who should conduct the study is the question.

  4. - MisterJayEm - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 12:16 pm:

    “Should the General Assembly pass a similar bill next spring?”


    And “any recommendations the Department deems necessary” should at minimum include best practices for automated enforcement, e.g. whether automated speeding citations should be issued to cars going 6 mph (or more over) the limit or only to cars going 10 mph (or more over) the limit.

    – MrJM

  5. - ddp76 - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 12:16 pm:

    Yes, it appears to have been sidetracked the first go round through alleged illegal conduct. Why not give it go? We have been assured ad nauseam that it’s all about safety. It’s not as time has borne out in so many different ways. If it is to be truly about traffic safety, hold users to that rule. And punish those who don’t comply not only with loss of the camera, but forfeiture of the fines.

  6. - ;) - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 12:28 pm:

    Sure, why not, that sound like a good idea.

  7. - Sangamo Girl - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 12:34 pm:

    Yes. And another data point should be the examination of any racial disparities inherent in or generated by these programs.

  8. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 12:36 pm:

    I generally support automated traffic enforcement. It lets police deal with actual crime, while still enforcing traffic rules which keep passengers/pedestrians/cyclists safe. A review to confirm my belief can’t hurt.

  9. - MoralMinority - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 12:38 pm:

    Yes. Was just Tuesday entering a 55 mph construction zone on I57 North of Mt. Vernon. I had slowed it down to 55, but an 18-wheeler was zooming around me in the passing lane that was closed ahead. The roadside “your speed” display indicated 65, which might have been what the semi was doing. I would hate to be ticketed for someone else’s speeding. I would hope there are at least two cameras some distance apart that are synced with time stamps so they can verify an average speed over the entire construction speed zone for a given vehicle.

  10. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 12:43 pm:

    Unlike books, automated traffic law enforcement systems should be banned.

  11. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 12:53 pm:

    ===A SafeSpeed executive freaked out about it, so Jones allegedly agreed to amend the bill in exchange for a bribe and a job for an as-yet unnamed individual.===

    In the 1970s, that would have been called a “fetcher” bill.

  12. - Vote Quimby - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 12:54 pm:

    Yes. As ddp76 noted, public safety was a selling point. Now we are learning more of the truth. The fact we now know part of this was due to illegal behavior, it should be remedied.

    Should SafeSpeed be banned from the state if it is found to be complicit?

  13. - Pundent - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 12:59 pm:

    Yes. I need to be convinced that these aren’t anything more than a revenue tool. And there’s ample evidence to support that conclusion. The abuses so far have outweighed any credible claims of improving pubic safety.

  14. - West Sider - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 1:00 pm:

    Yes. Also- aggressive signage warning of speed cameras should be required because we’re trying to maximize compliance not revenue- right? right?

  15. - Excitable Boy - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 1:05 pm:

    Yes, but that similar bill should also ban private operators altogether. If speed cameras are integral to public safety they should be public property, there is no reason for middlemen.

  16. - Siualum - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 1:21 pm:

    I think cameras have a use in crash investigations and the like, but not in a proactive way to arrest folks.

  17. - Groucho - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 1:31 pm:

    Yes. If the study can be conducted objectively and by a trustworthy organization (not IDOT). Personally, I am not a fan of speed cameras. I believe the biggest hazards on the road are those reckless driver who drive to close to the vehicle in front of them (I guess to make the car ahead of them go faster?) and drivers who cut in and out of lanes.

  18. - Pundent - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 1:38 pm:

    I would add that in my experience I haven’t encountered many “speed” cameras. Most are positioned at intersections around stop lights and the few times that I have been on the receiving end of a citation it’s been due to not coming to a complete stop and/or a light changing from yellow/red. I’ve seen scant evidence suggesting that these traffic violations are responsible for increased accidents. It operates more like a gotcha device not a safety measure.

  19. - Captain Obvious - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 1:41 pm:

    If the goal of these devices is increased traffic safety, common sense would dictate a study that most accurately and objectively measures their actual effect on traffic safety. Duh. Who can design and implement such a study? That is the rub. Certainly no one who is associated with the for profit firms that purvey these devices. Can the govt be trusted to do it? Who knows. But such an effort should absolutely be made.

  20. - froganon - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 2:23 pm:

    yes to legislation. Tickets for right turns and not coming to a complete should be prohibited. Both my husband and I have had near misses with cars that roar through red lights. Both times, a car full of kids laughing and talking. They barely slowed down. It was hair raising.

  21. - Huh? - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 4:17 pm:

    IDOT does not own the red light cameras or speed cameras. They are installed and and owned by a municipality. If the cameras are on a leg of an intersection under IDOT jurisdiction, it is there by permit.

    IDOT does not get any of the revenue from these cameras. It goes to the municipalities. They have no vested interest in them.

    IDOT is fully capable of conducting an objective study that analyzes the safety of the intersection and any impacts of the cameras.

    It wouldn’t surprise if there is an outline of a study somewhere at IDOT.

  22. - KBS - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 9:43 pm:

    This recent thread on Twitter had a ton of citations of studies showing that speed cameras increase safety. Even convinced the original poster he was wrong, and how often does that happen on social media?!

  23. - KBS - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 9:44 pm:

    This recent thread on Twitter had a ton of citations of studies showing that speed cameras increase safety. Even convinced the original poster he was wrong, and how often does that happen on social media?

  24. - Bud's Bar Stool - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 9:54 pm:

    === focusing the usage on actual public safety rather than on dollars and cents ===

    Amen. This whole program has been a total sham from the start. Evidence to suggest improvements in public safety is scant at best, while the incentive for municipalities to engage the cameras to make money is overwhelming (to say nothing of the obvious potential for crooked deals).

    === My issue is that I don’t trust IDOT to issue a fair report. ===

    If IDOT has a conflict, and I don’t know that they do, then maybe the auditor general’s office can handle it or be responsible for hiring the firm to conduct the study.

  25. - AFSCME Steward - Thursday, Sep 22, 22 @ 10:03 pm:

    Yes. If the cameras are about safety and not revenue, the fines collected should be earmarked to improve safety at the point they were incurred. If the money goes into general revenue, it is about money not safety.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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