Winfield has flipped the switch on its first red-light cameras at the intersection of Winfield and Roosevelt roads.
Starting Feb. 1, motorists caught disobeying traffic signals at the high-volume intersection will be fined $100. In the meantime, violators will receive warning notices as part of a grace period.
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The cameras, which records eastbound traffic on Roosevelt Road, could generate as much as $200,000 a year for the village. Still, officials stress the main goal is to increase traffic safety by reducing accidents resulting from red light-running violations.
"The expectation is that we're going to see increased compliance with people stopping on red," Village Manager Curt Barrett said Friday.
Winfield police said statistics show motorists running red lights is the leading cause of urban auto accidents. And motorists and pedestrians are more likely to be severely injured in accidents involving failure to obey traffic signals, officials said.
"Drivers need to understand that it's dangerous to run a red light," Deputy Chief Stacy Reever said in a statement. "You put yourself and others at risk in an attempt to shave a few seconds off the time it takes to get to another red light a few blocks down the road."
With an estimated 10,000 cars and trucks a day, village officials said the intersection of Winfield and Roosevelt is a good location for a camera.
On the first day the equipment was used on Jan. 12, three different motorists were caught on camera committing "straight through" violations, according to Barrett.
"They weren't making right turns," he said. "They went straight through the intersection on red, which is your most dangerous kind of situation."
While there are safety benefits, officials acknowledge the cameras will help support the town's police expenses.
Money collected from fines will go to the village's general fund. As part of its contract with Lombard-based RedSpeed Illinois, Winfield didn't pay for the installation of the equipment.
"It has the deterrent factor and then also there is a revenue stream that goes back to supporting our public safety costs," Barrett said. "Additionally, there's the benefit of freeing up some police time for patrol elsewhere."