Despite the overwhelming evidence that Red Light Cameras do not enhance safety, despite the fact Police Departments with RLC are asking for them to be taken away, despite the problems communities have had with them, despite how RLC companies have left a trail of campaign contributions, despite the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety being the only proponent of RLC, Downers Grove on Thursday November 20th released a Request For Proposals for Red light Cameras.
RedSpeed Illinois, currently based in Lombard IL, is largely responsible for the fog and misinformation that mistakenly caused our Police Department to buy into this money making scheme thinking it was about safety. RedSpeed Illinois joined as an associate member of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, yet the IACOP makes no endorsement for RLC of any kind anywhere on the public portion of their website.
RedSpeeds own website claims in “Safety Newsletters” more and more “Safety Reports” coming out, yet when you actually check them on their claims, they are merely more of the same regurgitations of IIHS propoganda. And the “Safety Reports” are mostly glowing reports about how well their speed cameras are working out. Speed cameras? Exactly what is the agenda of this company, and what “safety enhancing” upgrades will they be lobbying village for once they get their camel’s nose under our tent with RLC? To this date, no company or person has been able to explain how a passive recording device can stop an accident from happening. RedSpeed’s own website shows videos of instance after instance where their RLC do not prevent accidents or improve safety. They just say that they do, even when presented with report after report showing RLC make us less safe at intersections.
It’s not about safety, yet when Red Speed Illinois is selected as the preferred bidder (yes I am predicting this will happen), and the proposal comes back before council, expect to hear all kinds of talk about safety by commissioners – unless they bother to do some homework.
If they want to be realistic they will be paying close attention to the detailed studies at potential intersections that could be used, detailed studies that will provide statistics and categories of how many cars run red lights, how many are in collisions, how many officer hours are taken up… a detailed study is pretty long, and examples exist all over the internet. My initial thought is that those studies of local intersections will be paragraphs of glossed over summary information.
Mayor Sandack was a voice of caution last time this was misrepresented to council as a safety issue, and his concern was the complete absence of due process and defendants rights. That’s a potentially larger important issue that may or may not get full airing.
There will also be cheery and optimistic and unwarranted revenue estimates that will cause every commissioners eyes to open. In a time of declining revenues this will seem like a magic pill. Just like legalized gambling, there won’t be any downside, it’ll just be a problem solver that will make up for revenue shortfalls and make us all safer.
Council members generally rely on their information packets to help them through the process of forming their opinions on village topics, and this will be a potential issue that provides shaped and slanted information. That is not necessarily the villages fault; Chief Porter and village staff have already been misled and misinformed by the proponents of Red Light Cameras, and companies that stand to make money, like Red Speed Illinois, are not going to let up on this golden opportunity. I hope all commissioners take the time to do even the most cursory independent research on this topic.
Use the search box and type in Red Light Cameras for a recap of previous articles, and go to The Newspaper to get yourself educated before this is jammed own our throats as one thing, when it is definitely another.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. And Red Light Cameras.