Abels & Annes

Are red light cameras increasing the risk of Chicago car accidents?

Red light cameras may actually be increasing the number of Chicago car accidents at intersections, according to a new study by the University of Illinois at Chicago.

A total of 188 red-light cameras have been installed at Chicago intersections and Cook County recently announced plans to install the cameras at even more intersections in suburbia. Chicago car accident attorneys may seek the videotapes as evidence in injury cases. Debate over the cameras has raged as proponents contend they make intersections safer while opponents argue they are little more than a cash cow for government agencies that benefit from millions in ticket revenue.
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Arizona recently announced an end to its camera program. And, in Palm Beach Florida, a study found rear-end collisions increased without a significant decrease in the number of serious broadside collisions the cameras aim to reduce.

FOX Chicago reports the UIC study found accidents at camera-equipped intersections have actually increased 5 percent. Meanwhile, the Illinois Department of Transportation reports that accidents have declined statewide, including at intersections that are not equipped with the cameras.

A spokesman for IDOT said the study’s number are disproportionately high because the state data used in the analysis counts crashes within 250 feet of a traffic signal as an intersection accident. IDOT maintains the cameras have improved safety and reduced intersection accidents by 20 percent, compared to the 10 percent citywide decline.

Detractors, and an increasing number of studies, continue to allege that the number of rear-end collisions increase when cameras are installed because motorists slam on their brakes at the last minute to avoid getting a ticket.

FOX News also reported earlier this year that the duration of yellow lights appears to be shorter at camera-equipped intersections than at intersections in suburbia that do not have the cameras. Another contentious issue is the citing of motorists for making rolling right turns on red — something that is against the law but that few law enforcement officers enforce even when they witness the violation in person. Palm Beach relaxed its enforcement of right turn violations … after the mayor received a ticket in the mail.


If you have been injured in a car accident, pedestrian accident, motorcycle accident or bicycle accident in the Chicago area, contact the Chicago injury lawyers at Abels & Annes for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.