Countdown Signals For Red Light Cameras?

CHICAGO (CBS) — Drivers in Chicago could soon have a few more seconds to slow down and avoid tickets from red light cameras.

As CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reports, Ald. Ray Suarez (31st) has introduced an ordinance requiring countdown signals at intersections where those cameras are installed, to stop drivers from slamming on their brakes.

Anxiety at getting caught by a red light camera often prompts drivers to slam on the brakes, which critics say causes even more accidents.

The problem, Habermehl says, is that installing a visible countdown clock could lead to anxious drivers speeding through at the 3-second mark, or looking at the countdown clock instead of traffic.

In total, there are 189 camera-equipped red light intersections within the city limits.

  • The Fixer

    Here’s a better idea. JUST GET RID OF THEM!

    There. Problem solved.

  • cutie

    please get rid of them chicago is a better place without them

  • the fixer got fixed

    BOOM! You’re dead! You got fatally side-swiped by a red-light driver! Heh…he just got rid of you!

    It IS REAL–people DO run red lights and KILL people!


    Let me tell you something — I am not telling a joke or tale. It was ALL REAL! Someone failed to stop and ran through the red light. If I did not slam down the brakes he would INSTANTLY KILLED ME by slamming into my car door! You, me, your friends, family members, if all of a sudden, was killed by a red light driver, would you still be happy?? Ask yourself–would Chicago be a better place without those cameras?! I didn’t think so!

  • tax payer

    nothing but for the city of chicago to make word easy money.why ,why is it for it’s all about money.simple solution>remove all the red light cameras.

  • Karen

    There is no way the city will get rid of the cameras because it’s a great source of revenue for the budget. That said, I think it should be required that countdown lights be mandatory for any camera light. The idea that looking at the numbers would interfere with your view of traffic is nonsense. Anyone that cannot shift their eyes momentarily from the road to the numbers or from the road to your side mirror without crashing has no business behind the wheel of a car.

  • dale

    It would be nice if we could actually SEE the countdown numbers from at least a block away. Up close the numbers look big enough but they are NOT.

  • M

    I’d have less of an issue with the cameras if the yellow lights weren’t so short. If you head out to the burbs you can find 5 second yellow lights, which is more than enough time to come to a stop, or at least decelerate enough to not get in trouble. I feel like the City’s yellows are two seconds tops, and feeling conveniently shorter at the camera-equipped intersections.

    If you’re going to keep the lights, give people the chance to stop, don’t just sucker punch them and steal their cash.

  • Audi A4 review – CarBuyer | Sebastien Bourdais, Pedro Lamy and Simon Pagenaud Drivers of Peugeot Sport Total’s Peugeot 908 HDi FAP | Countdown Signals For Red Light Cameras?

    […] soon have a few more seconds to slow down and avoid tickets from red light cameras. Read more on CBS Chicago This entry was posted in Drivers and tagged Audi, Bourdais, Cameras, CarBuyer, Countdown, […]

  • Brian Ceccarelli

    The Chicago Department of Transportion, according to their own webiste, sets yellow durations to “3 seconds from speed limits <= 30 mph, 4 seconds for 35 mph and over." More than half the time these settings are illegal. The Illinois and international standards, a road that is 30 mph = 3.2s yellow, 35 mph = 3.6, 40 mph = 4.0s, 45 mph = 4.3s, 50 mph = 4.7s, etc. The American standard (AASHTO) is 30mph = 3.5s, 35mph = 3.8s, 40mph = 4.2s, 45 mph = 4.5s, etc. Most Chicago intersections are 35 mph where CDOT sets the duration to 3.0s. That is illegal. Independent measurements and camera experts actually place the Chicago 30 mph yellow durations lower to 2.8 seconds. This is why Chicago likes red light cameras. They can get away with blaming engineering failures on innocent drivers.

    How much difference does a fraction of a second make? As opposed to CDOT, the IL and federal standards are based on Newton's Law of Motion. The penalty for the violating Newton's Laws of Motion are severe. For each 1/2 second CDOT shorts a yellow light under the AASHTO value, the CDOT more than doubles the number of people they force to run reds.

    And do not trust the CDOT's website either. While the CDOT says that set yellows to 4 seconds for 35 mph, they do not — even by their own admission. For example, the 2 cameras at Cicero and Peterson, a 35mph road, the CDOT has set the yellows here to 3.0 seconds.

    CDOT penalizes drivers who obey F = ma. This is illegal by the common law called the Canute rule. In the spirit of the RLC laws, Chicago should also consider passing a law against the Law of Gravity, fining its citizens $100.00 every time their foot hits the ground.

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