I realize I might get a little heat for this one, but I feel compelled to speak up based on a Naperville Sun article I read today regarding the relaunch of Naperville’s automated red light cameras which snap photos of cars running red lights at busy intersections.
I speak from the experience of my daily commute which takes me to Des Plaines by way of River Road through Rosemont. Anyone who has driven down River Road in Rosemont might agree when I call the stretch of road “Red Light Camera Alley”. Every other traffic light is enforced by the automated enforcers in the sky.
First, I do not disagree that there are many busy intersections around Naperville and other citys and towns with track records of accidents. I report to work each and every day to an organization devoted to preventing all forms of injuries. Beyond these cameras being an easy revenue-generator the more important consideration which should be addressed is whether or not these cameras truly improve traffic safety.
First, as a seasoned commuter who drives nearly 18,000 miles a year for work (ouch, why did I do that calculation), I pride myself in my own safe-driving practice amidst the morning and afternoon kamikaze “stunt drivers”. My biggest observation is when drivers approach these red light camera intersections they don’t know whether to slam on the brakes or floor their accelerator pedal. Personally, I approach these intersections with trepidation having the knowledge of “big brother” smiling from its lifeless metal box just waiting for the chance to charge me $100 for a violation. In my mind, though I’ve never received an camera enforced ticket (knock-knock-knock), I believe it creates more intersection danger than it solves.
Second, on overcast days or in the darkness of winter rush hour, these cameras actually use a strobe-like flash to lure possible violators into the clutches of its sinister lens, which serves as a major distraction regardless of which direction you are traveling.
I guess time will tell whether we see a reduction in accidents as I hope that is the case. However, I can say that these cameras seem to create a new form of erratic traffic stress and dangerous driving behavior, even for good drivers who simply want to obey the laws of the road. In the meantime, I have no doubt the cameras will be a good revenue-generator for the City of Naperville.
Have you had an experience with red light cameras? If so, I invite you to share your story via a comment below. SM