Red Light Cameras in Illinois: What You Need to Know

Web Admin - Thursday, November 21, 2013

Motorists come in contact with yellow lights at intersections daily. And while many slow to a stop to avoid a possible accident, others may risk their chances by gunning the engine through the changing lights above, often doing so with no repercussions.

Even if you avoid an accident, you may still be hit with a traffic citation for running a red light. In fact, with the proliferation of red light cameras throughout Illinois, residents in Chicagoland may find themselves being mailed tickets for allegedly running a red light and being caught on camera. Citations are sent to the registered owner of the vehicle, even if the owner was not driving at the time.

The cameras are connected to traffic signals at select intersections. There is usually a constant low-resolution video feed being recorded, and sensors are connected to crosswalk lines and stop lines. When vehicles cross those lines after a light is red, a high-resolution camera is triggered that tries to captures the vehicle license plate and an image of the entire vehicle in the intersection.

The Consequences

If you are convicted of red light camera violation, you will have clear consequences. For starters, you will owe a fine­--typically $100. But it is not only a matter of money; the citation will affect your driving record and may result in 20 “points” being added to your license record. Considering the effect that this may have down the road, it is important to think twice before automatically paying the ticket.

Defending Yourself Against Red Light Tickets in Illinois

Under Illinois law, if you receive a ticket in the mail you have the option to request a hearing to contest the violation.  

Mistakes are frequently made by these automated systems. The technology is not perfect, and many resident who lawfully enter an intersection before a light is red, or make a right turn on a red light after properly stopping, still receive citations in the mail. The same Illinois law that allows administrative hearings to contest a charge also require municipalities to provide you with access to the recorded images of your supposed violation.

In addition, there are specific state rules that prevent municipalities from issuing citations in any manner they choose. For example, the law explains that a municipality “may not use an automated traffic law enforcement system to issue violations in instances where the motor vehicle comes to a complete stop and does not enter the intersection… even if the motor vehicle stops at a point past a stop line or crosswalk where a driver is required to stop…”

For help with red light ticket legal issues throughout the Chicagoland areas, including Lake County, Will County, DuPage County, and other nearby communities, please contact an experienced Illinois traffic lawyer today. We help residents in many northwest suburban areas including Arlington Heights, Palatine, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, Schaumburg, Des Plaines, McHenry, and Crystal Lake defend themselves in these situations.

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