East Dundee to renew contract with RedSpeed Illinois
The red-light cameras located at two East Dundee intersections are here to stay.
East Dundee's contract with RedSpeed Illinois, the company that operates the cameras, was set to expire in October. The village board voted Monday to renew that deal, despite heated discussion between trustees.
Opposing the resolution were trustees Alan Hall and Allen Skillicorn. Skillicorn has actively campaigned against red-light cameras, arguing the cameras are a scam.
A red-light camera was installed at the Route 68 and Route 72 intersection in 2009. Another was put in at Routes 25 and 72 in 2011.
Skillicorn said an increase in the number of violations handed out in the last six months determines that red-light cameras do not make drivers more cautious.
Additionally, he argued, the number of crashes at Routes 72 and 68 began declining in 2008, before the camera was installed.
"It shows me that this is about money and that East Dundee has its greedy hand out," Skillicorn said.
From March 2014 to February 2015, the village received $161,841.65 from red-light cameras, Police Chief Terry Mee said.
Trustee Jeff Lynam said Skillicorn's assessment was unfair and that the village is not committing a crime by installing the cameras. However, he admitted that there is some benefit to the village receiving revenue from the fines.
"You cannot just end this revenue stream without looking at the next step," Lynam said.
RedSpeed Illinois sends all violations caught on camera to East Dundee, at which point village officials review videos of the incidents caught, Mee said. Between 15 and 22 percent of those violations result in the village notifying the driver of the violation.
"Every one of the violation videos referred to us are actual violations, but we look at each one and we try to identify the ones where there is absolutely no attempt to hesitate as they move through the red light," Mee said.
Upon receiving notice of their violation, drivers can choose their next step: pay the $100 fine, request an in-person hearing or contest it by mail.
"You have to think, if this was a moneymaking operation, we would be ticketing 100 percent of them," Trustee Robert Gorman said.
The village pays RedSpeed $1,499 per month for the operation of each camera, according to the contract. Additional fees include $5.99 for each digital capture and manual review of a violation.
Mee said the number of violations fluctuates every month for a multitude of reasons such as improved camera technology and a change in traffic patterns.
In a report looking at both red-light camera intersections from December to February, RedSpeed noted a monthly average of 2,034 violations, Mee said. On average, 21 percent of them were actually approved by East Dundee.
In May, 1,501 violations were caught on video, and 16 percent of those were approved by the village.
Village President Lael Miller noted that violators only receive an administrative ticket, which does not appear on insurance or traffic records.
Lynam said the best way for drivers to avoid these tickets is to come to a complete stop.
Hall and Skillicorn argued the owner of the car caught on camera would be fined, but that person may not have been driving when the violation occurred.
"If that was a police officer, they would know for sure who's driving," Hall said.
But Gorman said having a police officer sitting at the intersection has a similar effect as the red-light camera sign.
"Rational thought knows that people would change their behavior if there's a consequence," he said.
Miller said for him, the main goal is to make people more aware of their surroundings when driving.
"If we can stop one fatality with these cameras, to me, that's worth it," he said.