From: gpsman on
Lawmakers also back tougher penalties for motorists driving at high

By Michelle Manchir and Ray Long, Tribune Reporters

6:04 p.m. CDT, March 25, 2010

Drivers would get a little more leeway at intersections with red-light
cameras but face a stiffer penalty for driving at excessive speeds
under separate measures state lawmakers advanced Thursday.

Red-light camera tickets would be harder to get and cheaper to appeal.
Speeders would find it much more difficult to keep their offenses off
their records under legislation that follows a Tribune investigation
that outlined how the fastest drivers sometimes end up with little
more than a slap on the wrist.

Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, sponsored both the red-
light and excessive speeding proposals, arguing they would improve
traffic safety.

The red-light proposal, which passed the Senate and now goes to the
House, would address some of the complaints that have arisen as
cameras have proliferated across Chicago and the suburbs in recent
years. It would ban the city and suburbs from tacking on an extra fee
to the standard $100 fine if a ticket is appealed, a common practice
which deters many motorists from fighting the charges.

The legislation also would give drivers more wiggle room to creep up
to the edge of an intersection before stopping.

- Why?

A complete stop still would be required before making a right turn on
red, but drivers could come to a halt after the painted stop line
without getting a ticket as long as pedestrians were not nearby.

- Why?

Drivers awaiting a green light to head straight into an intersection
also could stop past the line without being nabbed by a camera.

- Why?

Cullerton said the moves would "guarantee that people are not
given ... kind of ticky-tacky $100 fines."

- Right. Blur the lines of what constitutes poor operation, because
so many operate so poorly.

The legislation also would require cities with the cameras to conduct
a review of the intersections where the devices are installed, an
attempt to reveal how effective the lights are in reducing car

- Duh. It doesn't matter how effective they are at reducing
"accidents". They are incentive for motorists to, however briefly, if
not put down their phones, at least direct a little more attention to
their operation.

Unimpressed was Sen. Dan Duffy, R-Lake Barrington, who wanted red-
light cameras eliminated. Duffy argued lobbyists for the red-light
camera companies had too much say in crafting the legislation, which
he contended fell far short of the necessary reforms. He said too many
communities are installing red-light cameras in hopes of filling up
local treasuries.

"It is like the Wild West for profits here, and these cameras and
these camera companies are targeting everyone while literally raking
in cash on every corner where these red-light cameras exist," Duffy

- Right. Everyone is targeted, but for some odd reason only a few are

- gpsman
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