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Tuesday likely last day for red-light cameras in Schaumburg
By Eric Peterson | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 7/9/2009 11:59 PM

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Schaumburg officials next Tuesday will likely pull the plug for good on their use of red-light cameras.

That's the day the village's current contract for red-light cameras expires, as well as the night trustees will vote on a public safety committee recommendation not to renew that contract.

The recommendation made Thursday was based on data showing that in Schaumburg only a very small percentage of vehicle collisions are caused by traffic-signal violations.

Red-light cameras were activated at the intersection of Meacham and Woodfield roads last November as a test run of their effectiveness for more accident-prone intersections.

The corner of Meacham and Woodfield was chosen because the village owns both roads and didn't need to seek county or state permission. But it isn't even close to the village's top 10 intersections for accidents, Police Chief Brian Howerton said Thursday.

Nevertheless, the red-light cameras became famous for generating 10,000 tickets and $1 million in fines in just 21/2 months - mostly for drivers not stopping completely for right turns.

In early February, the village stopped enforcing right-turn-on-red violations, resulting in the number of tickets issued dropping dramatically. Only 14 were given out in May.

Howerton said the village board's directive has been to use red-light cameras only for accident prevention. But a new study shows that even at the most accident-prone intersections, the cameras would have little effect.

Of the approximately 800 crashes investigated in 2008, only 15 crashes at the 10 worst intersections were caused by traffic-signal violations.

The corner with the red-light cameras had 26 crashes last year, but none caused by signal violations. And of the 12 crashes there this year, only one was caused by disobeying a red light, Howerton said.