According to American Traffic Solutions (ATS), an average of two people die a day due to red-light running accidents in the United States. This equates to $378 million lost in costs due to red-light running fatalities each month. Private insurers pay approximately 50 percent of motor vehicle crashes, while third parties such as uninvolved motorists, charities, health care providers, federal revenues and state and local municipalities pay the majority of the leftover costs.
Red light cameras are permitted in Illinois under 625 ILCS 5/11-208.6. A red light camera is a device that photographs drivers as they run red lights, automatically issuing tickets.
Red light cameras are controversial, however some arguments for the cameras include:
- Red light cameras save lives. A 2011 study done by the Insurance Institute for Highway found that red light cameras lowered red light running accidents by 24 percent.
- Red light safety cameras have public support. A 2011 survey conducted in 14 large cities found that two thirds of the people supported red light cameras.
- Red light running fines fund community needs and highway safety functions.
- Cameras save money for taxpayers and the community. A single fatal crash costs society $6.43 million
The National Coalition for Safer Roads joins with other organizations each year to raise awareness about the dangers of red light running during National Stop on Red Week. Combined, the organizations came up with a list of the top ten reasons it is important to stop at red lights. The reasons include:
- Red light running is against the law and dangerous.
- Red light running causes preventable fatalities. It is estimated that from 2004-2014, 8,517 people were killed from red light running accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a fatality analysis reporting system, which tracks fatalities across the United States. The map indicates the top ten most dangerous cities for red light running.
- Society pays over $230 billion annually for automobile crashes.
- One in three Americans know someone that has been injured or killed in a red light accident.
- Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in children age 4 and the second leading cause of death in children ages 3 and 5-14.
- Almost half of the deaths that are caused in red light accidents are cyclists, pedestrians and drivers of other vehicles.
- In 2014, 709 people were killed and an estimated 126,000 were injured in red light running accidents.
- Motorists in urban areas are more likely to be involved in a red light running crash than any other type.
- Studies found that drivers that are involved in red light crashes are more likely to be male, young and have prior accidents or alcohol impaired convictions.
- It is estimated that more than 36 percent of drivers continue to run red lights.
The fine for running a red light or running a stop sign ranges from $100 to the maximum of $500 and up to 20 points on your Illinois license. Red light camera tickets are approximately $100, but no points will be taken off your license. These fines may change, or be different, depending on the county.
In January of 2012, cyclists and motorcyclists in Illinois may run red lights legally. Under this law, municipalities with less than two million inhabitants have given cyclists and motorcyclists the ability to proceed through an intersection if they have waited a “reasonable period of time.” Illinois law states that a reasonable period of time is no less than 120 seconds.
Illinois drivers may make a turn on red when there is no sign prohibiting a right turn on red, and when it is safe to do so. Additionally, drivers may turn left on reds if the destination and origin streets are one way.
In Illinois, a yellow light means that the driver is warned that there will be a red light to follow. It is legal for driver to deliberately proceed through a yellow light as long as the automobile entered the intersection, crossed the limit line, or crossed the crosswalk before the light has turned red.
Left Turns and Red Lights: What You Should Know
In Illinois, a driver in an intersection that wants to turn left must yield to oncoming traffic. The law states:
(625 ILCS 5/11-902) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-902)
Sec. 11-902. Vehicle turning left.
The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard, but said driver, having so yielded may proceed at such time as a safe interval occurs.
(Source: P.A. 76-1586.)
Additionally, when facing a red signal a driver may turn left only if it is from a one-way street to another one-ways street. The law states:
(625 ILCS 5/11-306) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-306)
Sec. 11-306. Traffic-control signal legend.
(c) Steady red indication.
3. Except when a sign is in place prohibiting a turn and local authorities by ordinance or State authorities by rule or regulation prohibit any such turn, vehicular traffic facing any steady red signal may cautiously enter the intersection to turn right, or to turn left from a one-way street into a one-way street, after stopping as required by paragraph 1 or paragraph 2 of this subsection. After stopping, the driver shall yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time such driver is moving across or within the intersection or junction or roadways. Such driver shall yield the right of way to pedestrians within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk.
Illinois Red Light Accident Lawyers
The Lamber Goodnow Injury Team and their Chicago partner firms are experienced in generally all aspects of Chicago automobile claims and our team of experts will help you obtain the financial outcome you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation; we work on a contingency basis, meaning you are not charged a fee unless we win your case.