According to the Kane County Division of Transportation, the running of red lights remains one of the major causes of car accidents. Nationwide, nearly 1,000 people are killed and approximately 178,000 are injured when vehicles crash as a result of negligent drivers running red lights.
The Illinois legislature empowers each county to regulate its streets and highways. In 2006, the Illinois legislature went further, allowing for red light cameras at high volume intersections. Kane County, DuPage County, Cook County, Lake County, and Will County, are among the Illinois counties permitted to install establish automated traffic law enforcement systems (red light cameras). Designed to capture a motor vehicle’s license plate, red light cameras take a digital photo of a motor vehicle entering an intersection while the red light signal is illuminated.
According to Kane County’s Red Light Camera Policy, cameras are only to be placed at intersections with a history of accidents. Before installing cameras, alternatives must first be implemented for an appropriate assessment period. In fact, Kane County’s policy sets forth the requisite characteristics a signalized intersection must have before being eligible for a red light camera, including:
• 3 years of documented annual crashes attributable to red light violations.
• 3 years of red light violations where remedial measures were ineffective.
Thus, in Kane County, an intersection with a red light camera is one that has been found to be particularly prone to car accidents, truck accidents, or pedestrian accidents. Intersection collisions, in particular, can cause serious injuries, including: severe back and neck injuries, brain injuries, broken bones, and even death. Although the presence of a red light camera at an intersection may lower the number of intersection collisions, drivers must remain careful and diligent when going through an intersection with a Red Light Camera. The intersection was, and still could be, at higher risk for dangerous collisions or car accidents.
The Northwest Herald reported that recent traffic data shows a promising decline in collisions and car accidents at intersections with red light cameras in the McHenry County villages of Algonquin and Lake in the Hills; however, red light cameras are not without controversy. Despite the promising data, candidates for County Board Chairman in neighboring Kane County disagree about the future of red light cameras. For example, Kane County Chronicle, has reported that Chris Lauzen, a state senator from Aurora, would try to remove cameras from intersections controlled by Kane County. Local municipalities must request that the County Engineer conduct a “traffic study” to review and consider an intersection for a red light camera. The County Board may then consider the Engineer’s recommendation, and a Board resolution must be entered before a photo enforcement camera can be installed.
Regardless of which way the political winds blow, red light cameras are likely here to stay. Although in Kane County red light cameras are installed at numerous intersections as a safety measure, many contend that the installation of a camera does not necessary make the intersection safe. Drivers should be diligent and careful, but if an accident does occur, contact the Kane County and DuPage County Personal Injury Lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Malm and Associates.