City to Get 220 More
Money-Makers Red Light Cameras
By Mark Boyer in News on Mar 4, 2008 7:01PM
Chicago took another step towards fulfilling Mayor Daley’s vow that by 2016, we’ll have cameras on “almost every block.”
It was announced yesterday that new red light cameras will be installed at 220 intersections, in addition to the 69 red light cameras that are currently in operation, and a ticket for burning a red light will cost you $100 (up from $90 last year). Along with the increased network of red light cameras, cameras will be installed on city street sweepers as well.
City officials claim the cameras drastically reduce the number of accidents at intersections, and that they're a safety measure -- not just a cash cow. But according to a Daily Herald article, the National Motorists Association claims that "photo enforcement isn't even the most effective method to improve traffic safety."
Back in June, Alderman Ed Burke acknowledged that the only real reason for installing cameras is to create another source of revenue for the city. Burke famously argued that radar devices that would warn drivers of the cameras (and increase the likelihood that they obey the law) should be banned, because fewer violations would mean less revenue. "The reality is that people blow through these intersections and they are going to be caught and they are going to be fined. It has become a big revenue source, absolutely," Burke said. In 2008 alone, the city expects to collect about $50 million from the cameras, for which they’re spending $59.2 million – that's a pretty impressive return on investment.
The cameras also have a reputation for issuing tickets to the wrong car. And if you're thinking about trying to contest a ticket, 12 seconds of online video and still photos of violations will be made available so that drivers can decide whether they've been wrongfully ticketed.