Red Light Camera Battle Rages in Illinois and Across Nation

766348_traffic_light%20sxchu.jpgRed light cameras are increasingly popping up in communities across the nation. Although relatively rare just 15 years ago, the devices are now installed at traffic intersections in about 700 cities located in 24 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to monitoring drivers who fail to stop at traffic signals, red light camera technology is purportedly being utilized to keep tabs on vehicle speeds, compliance with high occupancy lane requirements, and stop sign violations. Proponents of the cameras claim the devices decrease potentially deadly traffic violations. Critics allege the increase in red light cameras has more to do with increasing city revenues than safety. Red light cameras are currently banned in at least nine states and anti-red light camera technology bills have recently been introduced in at least two more.

According to data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 700 people were killed and 90,000 were hurt as a result of an alleged red light violation in 2009. Since then, the rate for such injuries and fatalities has reportedly decreased. A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2011 claims the use of red light cameras decreased traffic fatalities by approximately one-fourth in cities that used the technology.

A 2005 study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration reportedly found that although red light cameras decreased certain types of crashes, they actually increased rear-end traffic wrecks. Agency officials cautioned municipalities against installing red light camera technology before pursuing other engineering modifications at intersections. For example, the agency allegedly found that increasing the length of yellow lights by just one second can decrease red light crashes by as much as 40 percent.

Red light cameras can potentially generate millions of dollars in fines for both large cities and the companies that provide the technology. In the past, some technology companies were accused of shortening the length of yellow lights in an effort to increase violation revenues. In Chicago, about $300 million in fines were reportedly paid to the city since 2003. After a number of resident complaints, a spokesperson for the company that operates the cameras said an internal investigation into the matter was ongoing. The same company was recently barred from re-bidding on the city’s red light camera contract after an investigation revealed the company made inappropriate purchases for the city official who oversees the traffic light program.

Unfortunately, car crashes are one of the leading causes of personal injury and death throughout the Chicago Metro. A driver or passenger in a rear-end or other motor vehicle accident may suffer back and neck injuries, a spinal cord injury, severe head trauma, broken bones, and other harm. The victim in a Chicago traffic collision may be eligible to recover compensation for lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering, medical expenses, any disability that resulted from the wreck, and other damages. Additionally, certain family members of an individual who was killed in an automobile crash may also be able to file a wrongful death case. A skilled personal injury attorney can explain your right to recovery in more detail.

If you were injured in a Chicago car accident, you should call Abels & Annes, P.C. at (312) 475-9596. At Abels & Annes, P.C., our hardworking Chicago Metro traffic wreck lawyers are available to assist you 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Our experienced attorneys are committed to helping injured clients receive the compensation they deserve following an Illinois injury accident. To speak with a capable personal injury lawyer today, please contact Abels & Annes, P.C. through the law firm’s website.

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Additional Resources:

Lights, cameras, reaction: Resistance builds against red-light cameras, By Lisa Riordan Seville and Hannah Rappleye, NBC News

Photo credit: infoarq, Stock.xchng