Springfield, IL… State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) has joined the chorus of voices calling for an end to the use of red light cameras in Illinois. In response to a recent federal probe, these much maligned camera systems are the target of newly filed legislation co-sponsored by Rep. McDermed.
House Bill 3909 would ban the installation of new red-light cameras and require discontinued use of existing cameras. The bill would also ban the use of cameras to detect speeding by motorists. Work zone cameras, railroad crossing cameras, and school bus stop arm cameras would still be legal if the bill was enacted.
“There’s no evidence that these red light cameras have been an effective safety tool or provided any real benefit to our citizens, only that they’ve been a boon to local coffers,” Rep. McDermed said. According to the Illinois Policy Institute, Chicago and other local governments across Illinois have banked over $1 billion combined between 2008 and 2018 from red light cameras, and the presence of these cameras outside Chicago has increased threefold during that time. Rep McDermed continued, “when it comes to these systems, they’re proliferating despite the bad clearly outweighing the good.”
Red light camera systems are currently a part of a sprawling federal probe into Illinois government officials and lobbyists. The implementation of such systems has been rife with abuse. For instance, in 2017 a Chicago Tribune investigation found that State Senator Martin Sandoval interceded on behalf of a red light camera company to get approval for a red-light camera in Oakbrook Terrace while accepting campaign donations from the company.
A number of bills to ban red light cameras have been proposed in the past. One bill in 2015 passed the House, but died in the Senate in the Transportation Committee. The subject of a current federal investigation, State Senator Sandoval, was Chairman of the Committee until last week.
“While I want safer streets, these camera systems have clearly been a vehicle for corruption,” Rep. McDermed continued. “Illinoisans deserve better than these shady money making schemes.”
HB 3909 is filed and awaiting committee assignment in the Rules Committee. The Illinois House of Representatives is set to return to Springfield on October 28th.