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Safety clearly not only reason for cameras
Letter to the Editor
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Published: 7/15/2009 12:00 AM

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Can we please move the debate about whether the installation of the red-light cameras is strictly for safety reasons and just accept the fact that the primary reason they exist is to generate revenue for the companies who install/maintain them and the village that allows for their installation (at no cost/risk to the village budget)?

Where else can the villages get such a high reward, no risk proposition. The red-light camera companies (not the villages) are conducting the surveys to recommend where the cameras should be installed. Do you think they would recommend an intersection that has a very high rate of accidents but a very low volume of traffic traveling through that same intersection per year? That might reduce the accident rate but it most likely would be "non-profitable" based on the number of projected tickets that could be written at those dangerous locations.

What happens to safety in this scenario? Do you really think the cameras change overall driving behavior or just our behavior at those intersections where cameras are installed? Unless your circle of friends is entirely different than mine, I would suspect the latter.

If driving habits do improve dramatically where cameras are installed and villages are not guaranteeing a monthly minimum fee to the red-light companies (if tickets produced at that intersection do not meet a break-even minimum per month) will the cameras be removed? Will the villages allow that? Have they written into their contracts that the cameras must remain in place indefinitely regardless of violations?

I'm really not arguing one side or the other here. If a law exists and you or I break it we should be penalized. Just stop trying to convince me this is for safety reasons only, OK? That's insulting.

Tom Franzak

Hoffman Estates