Naperville says no red light camera tickets for right turns

Published: 7/21/2010 12:00 AM

Naperville has put the brakes on using red-light cameras to catch right-on-red violators.

Councilmen on Tuesday said they are not convinced there is enough of a safety issue with motorists turning right to justify using cameras.

"It's a sense of justice, it's a sense of why am I being hauled into court, why is government descending on me when I should be left alone right now," Councilman Bob Fieseler said.

Naperville operates cameras at three intersections - Route 59 and North Aurora Road, Route 59 and Diehl Road, and Ogden and Aurora avenues. Those caught violating driving laws are fined $100.

City staff members made a case Tuesday for keeping right-on-red violations. Marcie Schatz, director of transportation, engineering and development, said officers review all violations and the city does not issue tickets to people turning right on red if they make a complete stop, even if they do so beyond the stop line. The cameras also are not triggered if drivers approach the intersection at 17 miles per hour or less.

Schatz said the goals of the cameras are to reduce crashes and red-light violations, and those "are substantially being met."

"It's time we all fess up to the fact our driving habits as a society, and Naperville is no different, have degenerated," Councilman Jim Boyajian said. "This is tool police officers have at their disposal to carry out the sworn duty we've given them, and that is to uphold law."

But the majority of councilmen said they did not see statistics proving there is a significant number of crashes caused by people turning right on red.

Councilman Doug Krause argued the citations are "about revenue, not safety."

Councilmen voted 6-3 to stop using cameras for right-on-red violations. Councilmen Judy Brodhead, Fieseler, Krause, Richard Furstenau, Grant Wehrli and Paul Hinterlong voted to get rid of the citations while Mayor George Pradel, Kenn Miller and Boyajian voted to keep them.

The city still will use the cameras to enforce the violations on eastbound North Aurora Road at Route 59 where turning right on red is illegal.

Eliminating right-on-red enforcement, excluding this intersection, is estimated to reduce annual revenues by about $600,000.

Red: Council defies city recommendations