Local Editorials

Our View: Put lens cap on red-light cameras

The local red-light camera experiment has gone on for a few years now and the claim that the cameras exist for the purpose of traffic safety remains a dubious one.

There is plenty of evidence of what we knew all along: The cameras are an easy way to separate people from their money. If local municipalities are depending on these funds for their operations, we’d suggest they find a better plan.

There are still some who defend the practice in the name of safety, but the chorus of thousands of opponents – many of whom have been hit with $100 fines often for the sin of not stopping long enough or in the exact right spot before turning right – is deafening.

Ohio, that great buckeye and bellwether state, already has said enough is enough and banned red-light cameras. State Sen. Dan Duffy, R-Lake Barrington, and state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, are among legislators leading the charge to do the same in our own state.

It’s going to take legislative action because it will be nearly impossible to persuade towns such as Fox River Grove and Lakemoor to leave the kind of cash they’re raking in on the table.

At the intersection of Routes 120 and 12 in Lakemoor, more than 30,000 red-light camera tickets were issued last year. The $1.8 million generated accounts for 38 percent of the village’s entire revenue.

Fox River Grove issued nearly 7,600 tickets last year. While we have no doubt that the village is putting that money to good use in fixing town roads, the ends don’t justify the means.

We’re not excusing poor driving. Drivers should always make complete stops at red lights and certainly not drive through them. We’re just not convinced that the money being taken from people’s pockets is balanced by the questionable safety impact.

The purpose of traffic lights is traffic safety. The purpose of red-light cameras is to serve as three-figure traffic toll booths.

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