Thursday, February 19, 2015 || By Michael Romain || Updated: 1/20/15 || 12:25 PM
Amid mounting criticisms about their ineffectiveness and claims that they’re simply scams enacted by municipalities in order to raise much-needed revenue, some Illinois legislators are moving to ban red light cameras until further notice.
The Chicago Tribune recently reported that State Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-8th) has introduced legislation that would halt Chicago’s “red light camera system until officials submit a report to the General Assembly detailing how they plan to address problems, including shortened yellow light times, unannounced changes to enforcement patterns and thousands of tickets issued under questionable circumstances.”
In Chicago, the red light camera system nets the city $500 million annually, even though the private company that owns it, Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., has been implicated in a bribery scandal.
In 2014, the Tribune commissioned a study which found that the cameras “did not reduce injury-related crashes overall” and discovered a “22 percent increase in rear-end crashes with injuries.”
Some law enforcement officials, such as Aurora Police Chief Greg Thomas, say the cameras are effective. Since their installation in his town in 2009, Thomas said the cameras have led to a decrease in the “number of crashes at intersections.”
Whether they’re effective or not, the money appears to keep rolling in–particularly for nearby Melrose Park, which the Tribune found collected “more than $1.32 million in 2012 and $1.47 million in 2013” from the cameras.
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, seven states have banned the use of red light cameras. And in Missouri, legislators proposed a statewide prohibition of the cameras in January.
David McSweeny (52nd), a state Republican lawmaker from Barrington, said that red light camera system is “a revenue grab by local governments.”
In Maywood, the Board of Trustees voted 6-1 to install the cameras in 2008, according to a Chicago Tribune report published that year. Former trustee Gary Woll, who noted that some of the violators might by Maywood residents, was the only trustee who voted against the cameras, the Tribune report notes.
The village authorized American Traffic Solutions Inc., based in Scottsdale, Arizona, to “study traffic habits at village intersections and to eventually place cameras at those sites.”
As of June 2014, according to the Waze, a website that lists red light camera locations throughout the state, red light cameras were installed throughout Maywood and Melrose Park at the following locations. (For an interactive map of red light camera locations, click here):
1st & Chicago Avenue
1st & Harrison
1st & Madison
1st & Roosevelt
1st & North Avenue
25th & North Avenue
5th & North Avenue
9th & North Avenue
Lake & Mannheim