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Cameras don't solve safety issues
Letter to the Editor
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Published: 7/31/2009 12:00 AM

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Thank you for your series on red light cameras. It is a perfectly controversial topic, and a perfect subject for responsible journalism. Who can say it isn't about safety? And who can deny it's about cash flow?

The first time I heard about red light cameras was from my daughter who lives in Chicago, saying bicyclists are terrified of those intersections because car drivers speed up going through them, to lessen the chance of getting stuck with an expensive ticket.

I go through the intersection with the camera at Route 31 and Route 72 in West Dundee regularly. I refuse to turn right on red there. I don't want my picture taken, to be examined by a red-light camera contractor in another city and possibly sent to the West Dundee police, and who knows who else?

At the same time I am concerned about what altered behavior, mine or that of others, may mean for traffic safety. If drivers come to behave unpredictably, that can only mean trouble.

Surely everyone must realize where this leads. Our open-road tolling gates are equipped with sensors and cameras. When can we expect to begin receiving tickets for speeding through one? In my observation, far more people do than don't. Once those are in the mail, what next can we expect from the same hard-pressed budgeteers who, having allowed gambling only on riverboats, now bring us video poker?

I think the best solution is to remove the cameras and, as Daily Herald reporting points out, let traffic engineering solve traffic problems.

Patrick J. Walsh

Elgin