Next time you are running late for your appointment and you think of gunning it through the intersection before the traffic light turns red, think again. The state of Illinois enforces red light cameras to catch red light violators. If you have been involved in a car accident caused by a red light violator, contact the experienced car accident attorneys at Malman Law immediately.
Red light cameras are mounted on traffic lights, usually found at busy intersections. The camera has one or more motor vehicle sensors that work in tandem with the traffic light signal. The device will take both a still photograph and video footage when a vehicle runs a red light.
Many drivers frequently do not come to a complete stop when taking right turns at red lights. The red light camera also takes footage of drivers who illegally roll through red lights.
However, the camera will not take a picture or video footage of drivers who legally take right turns at red lights at intersections where right turns are permitted.
The footage captured by the red light camera will include a clear image of the vehicle, the rear license plate, and a timestamp of the time, date, and location of the incident.
Anytime you enter an intersection after a traffic signal turns red, you’re running a red light. However, you’re not running a red light if you have turned into an intersection as the signal changes. This may occur if you’re waiting to turn left.
If you do not come to a full stop at an intersection where a right turn is allowed on red, you’re a red light runner. You’re also considered guilty of running a red light if you turn right at an intersection where turning on red is not permitted.
People regularly run red lights when they think they’re not being watched. One study showed that intersections without red light cameras had a violation rate of about 3 red light runners per hour. Again, red light cameras save lives and keep things safer.
People who run red lights cause hundreds of fatalities and thousands of injuries annually. In 2020, 928 deaths were recorded that were related to running a red light. Bicyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and motorists were included in this number. During the same year, around 116,000 people were injured from red-light runners.
Don’t confuse these cameras, however, with traffic data cameras. These recording devices look similar and are also installed on stop lights and signals. However, their use supports the timing of the traffic lights. You won’t get a ticket from what a traffic data camera records.
Red camera ticket lights are mainly found in metro Chicago and suburban locations. They operate 24/7.
Under Illinois law, red light cameras are permitted. Red light cameras are considered to be part of the “automated traffic law enforcement system.”
A county or municipality is not allowed to use the “automated traffic law enforcement system” to record a vehicle’s speed, but for the sole purpose of catching red light culprits.
Chicago began its red light camera program back in 2003. Before any new red light cameras are installed, Chicago City Council requires that the Department of Transportation (DOT) hold a public meeting.
The number of red light violations have been staggering, with Illinois local governments collecting upwards of $1 billion in ticket revenue in the past decade.
Depending on the city or town, the fine for a red light camera ticket may vary. A red light camera ticket is usually priced at $100. If you choose to ignore your ticket, more fines will be implemented. If you miss the due date, your fine will increase from $100 to $200.
Besides having to pay the $100 fine, you will be subject to additional fees:
It’s not a good idea to ignore a red light or a red light camera ticket. That ticket will not magically disappear. If you don’t address the offense and pay the citation, the amount you’re required to pay will increase. In fact, you may have to pay double the amount if you miss the due date.
Moreover, you can get your car seized, which, as you know, will make it difficult to get around. While you won’t lose your license for running a red light, you may lose your transportation if you don’t pay your fine.
Some motorists wonder if the cameras violate a driver’s privacy. Legally, the electronics do not. That’s because driving is regulated. Therefore, drivers who obtain licenses agree to abide by specific road rules.
Red light cameras are not designed to violate a person’s privacy but to catch people who are not driving as they should. They support the efforts of local and state law enforcement agencies.
When the signal timing is programmed to improve safety and the yellow light time is increased, red-light-running is reduced, and so are the resulting mishaps.
A red light offender will receive a ticket in the mail five to seven business days after the violation. The ticket will also indicate the date the fine is due, normally due within 25 days.
For any motorist who receives a red light violation in Chicago, they can view the video footage and photograph of the violation on the city’s website.
If you feel that the camera took the footage in error, you can take action. Be aware that you only have seven (7) days from the ticket being issued to contest your ticket with the city.
Since a red light violation is not considered a moving violation, it is not placed on a motorist’s driving record.
Instead, a red light violation is considered an administrative violation. Red light violations are similar to parking tickets in this way. In addition to the ticket not being part of your driving record, your insurance rates will not increase either.
Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.
Years of experience: +30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2023