Red Light Cameras Go Out To Bid

703px-red-light-camera-springfield-ohioVillage moves forward on increasing revenues via RLC.

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.

What RLC are really about...

What RLC are really about...

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.


6 Responses to “Red Light Cameras Go Out To Bid”

  1. A Reader Says:

    The first step on a slippery slope always seems reasonable. You’re right they’re not about safety and Sandack is right they abridge constitutional rights. The links are very informative.

  2. markthoman Says:

    If we do it, let’s skip deceiving ourselves. If we do it for revenue we are more likely to have a successful program than if we pretend it’s about safety. More crass maybe, more realistic absolutely.

    It’ll be interesting to see if Sandack picks up any steam on the legal aspect and converts some council members. More on this as a post.

  3. DGDAD Says:

    I don’t quite understand the difference between a police officer sitting in a car, manning a video camera taping a motorist blowing thru a red light or a camera by itself recording the same incident and then officers back at the station going thru the tapes, snapshots….seeing who deserves a ticket and who does not.

    This is what is called technology. The facts that I have seen show that the cameras reduce the repeat offender ( I don’t have that in writing). I know now when I see the signage for “red light” camera up ahead, I am more aware of not to blow the yellow….somehow I would think that would mean, I am driving safer.

    The money is a good thing. I would appear we tax many many “sins”….Add blowing a Red Light to the list. If it saves one life, I am for it.

  4. Tribeca Says:

    Heard Bolingbrook started these only to pull them from the corners. Read it here:

    Six months after police installed traffic signal cameras at three Bolingbrook intersections, they are suspending the program.
    The purpose of the program was to teach drivers to come to a complete stop at intersections said Roger Claar, mayor of Bolingbrook. Never intended to be permanent, the cameras have resulted in a drop in accidents, he said.
    ‘We’ve changed the behavior of drivers, so now we’re going to pull it for a few months,” Claar~said.

    The next few months to see if people are violating red lights~ and right turns on reds.”
    The cameras were installed in May at Boughton and Weber roads, as well as Schmidt and Pinecrest. Drivers photographed crossing’ the white line before coming to a complete stop were mailed $100

    Bolingbrook police report that in the six months since the cameras operated, accidents at the intersec tions were reduced by an average of 40 percent compared to the same months last year.

    Traffic tickets issued by the police department skyrocketed under the everwatchful eyes of the cam
    eras. In July, 2,132 tickets for red light violations were mailed, compared to 786 tickets handwritten by officers for other traffic violations during that month. Aithough ticket recipients complain the enforcement program was all about raising revenue,raising revenue, Claar said ” he was solely designed to change drivers’ habits.

    Funny 5 steps from another blog, mostly pertaining to Bolingbrook:
    5 Ways to avoid paying a few hundred dollars in fines every monthif you live in or around the Naperville, Bolingbrook, Downers Grove area:

    1. Avoid Boughton Road, Weber, Pincerest Road, Schmidt Road and Rt 53 at all costs. You can most likely get to work, school, the stores (outside of Bolingbrook) and home by side streets around these camera hungry intersections. This is the most legal way to get around this, since I know everyone tries to stop behind the white line and fully before a right turn, no on intends on doing anything wrong, no one ever gets hurt, and it’s too stressful to have to worry about loosing $100.00 on your drive home from work when you are already stressed from work itself. It’s not worth the worry. Go around them. (although more are planned for other Bolingbrook intersections and in many other suburbs for more revenue soon)

    2. Get blur obstruction licence plate covers. These may or may not be illegal in certain towns, but they may save you the ticket. The clear licence plate cover protects the plate from dirt and grime but it also is blurry when read from the side or above. This is usually the angle that cameras are at since they put them high where citizens can’t reach them and disable them easily. Just ask how many cameras get disabled in the UK and London each day.

    3. You can take this up with the local government in the town by writing letters, starting an action group for free motoring without reconnaissance but I doubt you will get much traction because the government officials usually just care about making a lot of money and when it is from a legal source like tickets and fines, they don’t have to get vote approval from the citizens like they would for a tax increase. They use the PR line that it is only hurting citizens who break the law, and we all know that is a lie. If a cop won’t get out of his car on a rainy day to write a ticket for a violation, it’s not big enough to warrant writing a ticket for, because it’s not doing any harm or danger to anyone. (but when they make $20,000.00 per camera per month, they don’t care about if it’s hurting anyone, it makes them balance their budget and not have to say no to their friends who want business contracts with the town)

    4. Elect someone else to Mayor of the town to change this policy. Know someone who would be better at the job? Maybe you? Run against them and return your town to a happier state of being. You will be a hero.

    5. This may be the smartest thing to do about this yet. If you don’t live in Bolingbrook and have to go through that town, don’t spend any money there anymore at all. They don’t deserve our sales tax dollars, and I am going to give my sales tax dollars to other towns that don’t ticket me just for driving my car. No Ikea, no shopping, no gas stations, no money spent in Bolingbrook ever again. They won’t get any sales tax from people and that revenue will be hurt much more than the revenue that they gain from these unwarranted tickets.

  5. DGDAD Says:

    Its my understanding Bolingbrook didn’t follow the correct protocol in assessing the tickets. The Police Dept is suppose to review the photos prior to the citation being issued, then issue only what is perceived to be the worst offenders. Also, cameras will show repeat offenders at different locations, exactly what you are trying to stop.

    I don’t like getting speeding tickets, but once I do, I slow down.

  6. markthoman Says:

    I had heard Mayor Claar got a ticket. Prob not true, but a good story…

    The big dif between a cop taking a video, and a RedSpeed camera doing the same? The cop on the beat video documents a moving violation ticket. Three strikes and you’re out of a license. The RedSpeed camera issues a civil violation ticket. You can have a hundred of those and still drive. The cop can also note if the perp is drunk, has 2 kilos of heroin in his back seat, is not wearing a seat belt, is uninsured; and on and on. The RedSpeed camera does none of that.

    Repeat offenders at different locations doesn’t matter to RLC. At all.

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