The Daily-Herald, which covers Chicago’s northwest suburbs, carries news today that Schaumburg, Ill., is dropping its red light traffic enforcement cameras after eight “tumultuous” months.
That news comes along with a Daily-Herald investigative series over the weekend that raised some red flags about red light cameras:
Most of the $100 red-light tickets are issued for turning right without coming to a complete stop. Traffic experts question the value of making this such a high priority, since it results in few serious accidents.
The answer is, “ka-ching.” In some of the communities surveyed by the paper, 90 percent of red light camera violations involved right turns on red. In some cases drivers who were ticketed did stop, just not at the white line.
Clearly, red light cameras can be used with the goal of making intersections safer. But this also shows the technology can become a revenue cash cow with little regard for improved safety.
Red light cameras are expected to be installed in Cedar Rapids this fall. Police and city officials here have insisted the cameras are all about improving traffic safety, not raising revenue.