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Red-Light Cameras Falling Out of Favor in Some Chicago Suburbs

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According to a recent Chicago Tribune article, some Chicago suburbs are discontinuing the use of or electing not to install red-light cameras at various intersections. Although the cameras, which ticket drivers based on photographs snapped as they travel through intersections, formerly were a popular way to enforce traffic laws, prevent accidents, and raise revenue for communities, their use has grown increasingly problematic for some local jurisdictions. For instance, some communities have cited road construction projects as a reason to discontinue the use of red-light cameras, or to never install them in the first place. Other jurisdictions feared that inconsistencies in ticketing , such as in the case of issuing tickets for right-hand turns, would cause problems and raise the ire of citizens. For instance, Naperville ceased the use of red-light cameras altogether when its city council opted not to renew its contract with its vendor earlier this year. City official estimate that their revenue loss will be about $261,000 for the year, even though two sets of cameras were already slated to come down due to construction halfway through the year. Likewise, Northfield's revenues from the program had already fluctuated heavily since its inception in 2008, ranging from $200,000 in some years to $850,000 in other years. Much of this fluctuation was due to construction projects, which often necessitated disabling various cameras for lengthy periods of time. Another reason for such drastic fluctuations in revenue came when the Illinois Department of Transportation removed "No Turn on Red" signs from a busy intersection. Village officials believe that this action cost the village almost $600,000 in revenue in a single fiscal year; revenue was $858,541 from May, 2010 to April, 2011, but the following year, revenue during the same time period totaled only $270,594. In contrast, Hinsdale opted not to install red-light cameras at all due to the possibility of ticketing motorists for turning right on red where prohibited. Hinsdale law enforcement authorities didn't believe that issuing such tickets would lead to a decrease in accident rates, as they do not normally see many accident that stem from a driver illegally turning right on red. Arlington Heights took the same view of tickets for turning right on red, and cited the lack of fatal accidents over the past several years as indicative of the lack of need to install red-light cameras. Meanwhile, Geneva, Orland Park, and Western Springs all have red-light cameras in place, and have no plans to deactivate them. Nonetheless, although the goal of installing red-light cameras in these communities was explicitly to reduce accidents, none of these localities could point to clear statistics showing that the cameras have reduced accident rates. However, all three communities did acknowledge dropping revenues from the cameras as drivers have become accustomed to theirj presence. While red-light cameras are a laudable step by communities to increase driver safety and reduce accidents, these cameras simply cannot prevent all accidents that lead to injuries and fatalities. If you or a loved one is hurt in an accident due to the negligence of another, you may be entitled to compensation for the costs of the injuries. Contact your experienced DuPage County personal injury attorney for a free consultation regarding your potential personal injury claim today.
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