It turns out the risk of having your picture snapped behind the wheel of your car has prompted some Naperville-area motorists to change their driving behavior, at least around intersections.
A new report by Naperville police indicates fewer drivers are disobeying traffic signals and causing accidents at the city's three intersections with red-light cameras. Two of the intersections, however, also report increases in "sideswipe and fixed object" crashes.
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According to the report, the average number of daily violations may be beginning to plateau at the intersections of Route 59 and North Aurora Road, Route 59 and Diehl Road and Ogden and Aurora avenues.
"Violations have definitely leveled off on the low end and that's exactly what we expected when we began the program," Traffic Sgt. Lee Martin said. "They've actually dropped by more than 60 percent (at Route 59 and North Aurora Road) since we started the program in 2009."
The total number of daily red-light violations has decreased 65.1 percent at that intersection when comparing the three-month periods of February to April 2009 and January to March 2011, police said. January 2009 data was not included because drivers had a one-month warning period when the red-light camera program began.
Lee said the intersection is also the only one where drivers are ticketed for right-on-red violations, but only in the eastbound North Aurora Road to southbound Route 59 lane.
"There's no turn on red at any time there, so those movements are still enforced," he said.
Recorded violations at Route 59 and Diehl Road are down 41.2 percent when comparing January to March 2010 to the same period in 2011. But crashes with "minor" injuries, likely rear-end collisions, increased about 18 percent.
The more serious injuries, Martin said, come from T-bone accidents that happen when motorists run red lights.
This intersection also saw a 14.3 percent increase in the number of sideswipe and fixed-object crashes.
All crashes are down about 6 percent at Ogden Avenue and Aurora Avenue and violations are down 58 percent when comparing the same January to March 2010 and 2011 data. The intersection also saw a 75 percent increase in sideswipe and fixed-object crashes.
Martin said nearly all of the sideswipe and fixed-object crashes this year were weather related.
"We had multiple lights hit by trucks and a high number of intoxicated drivers striking fixed objects during the icy and snowy conditions," Martin said. "So very few of those were vehicles striking other vehicles."
Martin also said the number of violations decreased notably last July when the city decided to no longer enforce the right-on-red violations at two intersections.
Overall, Martin said he believes the program has been successful.
"We're meeting the goals of crashes being down at all three intersections and overall injuries being down," Martin said. "I believe we're making the intersections safer and the data speaks for itself."
Martin said the city has a list of intersections where officials believe the cameras would be helpful but many of those locations, he said, are "no longer in play" because the DuPage County Board refused to approve use of cameras on county roads.