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Red Light Education

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Jun 4, 2009 5:20PM

Photo by josephp
Because red lights are apparently too complicated for Chicagoans to understand, Edward M. Burke (14th) wants to create a "Red Light Education Program" for red-light runners. In addition to the $100 fine, drivers would have to pay $25 to complete the program or pay an additional $50 fine instead. Burke compared the plan to programs for teen drivers that are required to complete educational programs, saying that the plan could help reduce the number of traffic deaths as it has for teen drivers. He added that 27 percent of the six million accidents that occur on U.S. roadways every year occur at intersections.

On the other hand, Fran Spielman writes:

Despite repeated claims that changing driving behavior is the ultimate goal, the cameras have become a giant cash cow for Chicago.

Last year, red-light cameras pumped out 579,560 tickets and generated $44.8 million in sorely-needed revenue. During the first three months of this year, there have been 148,612 tickets issued and $13.3 million collected.

So either A) Burke thinks Chicagoans are unable to comprehend the complexities of a traffic light and require education, or B) Burke, finance committee chairman, is looking for another way to squeeze money out of drivers.