(Springfield, IL) — February 10, 2010. Red light cameras may be coming to an intersection near you.
State Senator John Millner (R-St. Charles) has introduced legislation streamlining operation of the cameras. Currently, only Chicago and nearby counties use the traffic-control tools.
“The whole point of this legislation is to reduce traffic violations,” Millner said.
“We’re saying here today that red light cameras do improve public safety, but we really believe there needs to be some common-sense additions to this legislation so it’s fair for everyone.”
The proposal would standardize regulations for yellow-light times and stops before an intersection, as well as call for cameras to be painted yellow so they are more visible to drivers.
Additionally, the cameras must be monitored by a police officer before a ticket is issued, and communities would be required to post the locations of red light cameras on their Web sites.
Several suburban police chiefs joined Millner in support of the initiative.
Westchester Police Chief Matthew Evans said the cameras have reduced traffic accidents 29 percent in several western suburbs since they were implemented in his community.
“There is discretion being used,” Evans said.
Thomas Scully, police chief of Orland Park, said he currently doesn’t have the cameras in his jurisdiction but he’s trying to get them since they would decrease accidents.
“We currently have had in the past several years fatalities where vehicles have run red lights and caused the accidents that killed innocent people,” Scully said.
However, some lawmakers say the cameras aren’t fair and are just moneymakers for municipalities.
“The rules that govern the way we drive should be consistent,” said State Rep. Will Davis (D- Hazel Crest). “My personal feeling is that this is a way to make money for communities as well as the state
State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) said that after he talked to residents and officials, he concluded the cameras were not needed because they aren’t efficient.
He agreed that Millner’s proposal would standardize regulations, but still believes eliminating the cameras is a step in the right direction.
“After doing the research and looking at what has happened not only in Illinois but across the country, it was clear to me that this was not an issue about safety,” Syverson said, “but this was an issue of revenue in municipalities.”
However, Millner said the red light camera system is self-sustainable because revenue from tickets is used to purchase the cameras and provide signs, paint and other requirements in his initiative.
–Ashley Badgley, Illinois Statehouse News