Drivers Freezing At Red-Light Camera Intersection

MELROSE PARK, Ill. (CBS) — You know the feeling. You’re driving through an intersection when suddenly, you see the red-light camera flash.

The fear of that flash has drivers in one suburb stuck in traffic -– by choice. They’re sitting at red lights, sometimes tying up traffic because they’re so afraid of getting a $100 ticket, CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports.

Some say it’s a flashing frenzy at North and First avenues in Melrose Park — red-light cameras sometimes going off several times a minute.

But it turns out not everyone getting snapped is breaking the law. And that has drivers scared to move.

“I did that once at this very same traffic light. I stopped. I waited, and yet I was still ticketed,” one motorist said.

CBS 2 observed drivers sitting at the corner, refusing to turn right on red, even though posted signs say that is permitted as long as you make a complete stop.

CBS 2 tested the system, stopping at the corner for more than five second. The camera went off.

Drivers say they’re tired of that sinking feeling when they think they’re obeying the rules of the road, but then look up in their rear-view mirror and see the flashing lights, anyway.

Melrose Park police say drivers who stop completely before turning won’t get tickets. A police officer reviews all the images from the cameras and decides who should get ticketed.

  • Pauline

    I received a ticket in Worth Il at a photo enforced stop light…I stopped before the white line . I waited and when I received the ticket. it stated that I stopped for 5 seconds and that you have to stop for 10 seconds…How would anyone know that…

    • Gary Katz

      There is no such 10 second rule under state law. All you are required to do is come to a complete stop before the line.

  • Allen Smith

    I try to avoid every intersection tha has those damn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! cameras. If i can’t avoid them, I go VERY SLOW as I approarch a green light just to stop when it turns yellow. At one of my favorite intersections, to avoid the camera, I go to the Speedway and buy a lottery ticket. I would rather pay a dollar with the chance to win and possibly move out of this state then to throw my money to the fat pockets of our local officals. It is no longer fun to drive.

    • Carl

      Got that right! The government won’t be happy until we can’t enjoy driving period. Between gas taxes, stupid cafe regulations preventing large v8 sedans from being produced, and ever increasing fines, and fees. I will never stop driving, we’ll just have to keep adapting.

  • Ted

    Red light cameras are mainly a method of raising revenue. Tribune reports show they do not have much of a safety effect at most intersections. I am all for using them to catch people who run the red light. Using them for right turn on red only raises money and does little or nothing for safety. The rules of the road do not specify a time you have to remain stopped, only that you come to a full stop. Stopping before the white line often limits visibility of the oncoming traffic. People pull forward to ensure they can see the traffic.

    • John Crumback

      The Illinois rules of the road state that for a vehicle to come to a complete stop, the vehicle must rock forward the back and forward again to be considered a complete stop, this is stated in the test you take to keep a violation off your record. There is no mention of any time in seconds to be considered a complete stop because this time can be differant with anyone, so to keep it clear to all it is the motion of the complete stop the officers are trained to look for. They are incorrect in insueing tickets for stopping based on time. All municipalities must follow all these rules when isueing tickets and Worth is wrong in their 10 second rule.

  • FHA

    I refuse to turn at any red light camera it’s annoying but saves me a lot of money, since each suburb has its rules about stopping time. Sometimes, i wait 10 seconds after it turns green, since i received a ticket for starting too early while green. That’s Chicago for ya!

  • Jim

    The same condition exists at northbound Mannheim Rd. and Grand Ave. When 80% of the drivers will not turn, there is a problem. The problem is the reason the cameras were put in in the first place. Yet another way to rob us. When questioned by you they give procedures for ticketing. NOT TRUE. Tickets are issued for right turns–Period.

  • Police state

    Just do not turn right on red at a red light camera. I don’t. I am not going to pay the bills for some lousy local community. I would rather tie up traffic. Sometimes I put the car into park in case I get hit from behind.

    If the light is green and I going through the intersection, I floor the accelerator. I do not want to risk a ticket with a yellow light.

    • Gregory Lewis


  • Safe Driver

    First of all, the law states you MAY turn right on a red light(afte making a complete stop), there is no mention of it being a requirement.(I got rear-ended years ago by someone who just watched the oncoming traffic and not whether I had moved). Second to the person who said it was ‘no longer fun to drive’, what it was only fun if you could run red lights?
    And lastly, ALL of the images are doublr checked before a ticket is mailed. If any of you truly felt you were in the right, you could go to court with a copy of the images/videos and plead your case, I have had those ‘flashes’ go off many times at certain intersections-but never recieved a ticket, because I was NOT breaking the law.

    • Ted

      Why should I have to go to court to prove my innocence? I have seen many cameras that flash away for apparently no reason. I am also sure the person spending the day looking at those images make errors or get bored and do things to amuse themselves. The cameras are a form of tax, plain and simple.

      • chitown

        ted, you so right! btw these cameras cause many accidents. they are not worth having at all. they are a scam. a city that has these cameras want to rob you or get you into an accident.

  • AT

    I have been in Chicago for over half of my life now, and you just have to go with the flow in traffic.

    Let’s say that speed limit is 55 mph in the Interstate. You can drive 55 mph, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are driving safe.

    Most semi would be around 60-65 mph in light traffic with no cops around. If you stick with 55 mph and below. You are blocking the flow. What will happen is semi will make a pass on you, and it gets more dangerous as regular cars get around them with you being a blockage.

    If there is cop around and depending where you are, just abid to the signs, rules, and the flow of traffic. Then nothing should be happening. You just have to be conscious of your driving. Knowing your surroundings is a must in safety driving. If you suddenly brake in front of a cop, it may just appears that you’ve done something wrong. Just keep your coolness, and drive accordingly to the situation presented to you. Don’t just be stubborn on sticking to “oh well the rules”.

    When it comes to machines (i.e. camera), it is a different story. It is an off/on thing. You just gotta to know how to make it off. I have a relative who lives in the UK, and the camera thing is a routine. You get familiar with the location, and you just know when know to turn flashes on.

    Now, about stopping in the red light in the middle of the road. I have seen it, and done that. The key to get away from it is to be careful on the light.
    Try to scan for the yellow light, and prepare for a stop before the intersection. If somehow you are caught passing on the intersection during yellow, you are ok but make sure you cross the intersection before the light turns red (i.e. accelerate a little bit).
    Now if you stop in the intersection with a red light, you are blocking the intersection. In that instant, you are on the verge of commiting an infraction (depending on the cop analysis). If you decide not to move and you are blocking traffic, you will get ticketed (and you deserve it). Like I have mentioned before, you haven’t follow the flow and you are blocking it. The key to get away from it is once you are completely stopped in the intersection, the flash hasn’t lighted up, once you start seeing cars moving on your left or right, just make your left turn. The camera should not flash you, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t be ticketed by a cop if he has seen you. Once again, it just depends on the situation. In rush hours, this is nothing. But if you are doing this at 2am and there is a cop there, well…(you deserve it). Once again, you gotta know your surrounding, be careful, and be conscious of how you drive. If you don’t, then it is not safe and defensive driving.

    Now for the right turn on red light. Yes, the driver is not obligated to turn. But during rush hours, you are blocking the flow and increasing traffic. It is like walking slow during rush hours. Just pick another road or way. However, if the front driver decides not to turn right on red light as permitted, don’t be mad, and cool down. If you are alone behind him, don’t honk. This could start some fire. But if you got a massive queue behind you and/or someone else honk at you. Give the block (head) up front a courteous signal (not a middle sign!).

  • Charlie Sheen


  • Bondo

    Avoid Rt. 59 and North Ave. Notorious for ticketing, those cameras make it look like a discotech. I stop 5 feet behind the line and when people start honking, I put on my blinkers, roll down my window and wave them around. So far, 3 people have been foolish enough to do that (and got ticketed).

  • chitown

    i have to slam on the breaks at a yellow light because a 250 dollar ticket is not worth it. these cameras are dangerous

  • chitown

    there are more accidents because of these cameras. and they are total scams.

  • chitown

    they seriously need to get rid of these cameras. they send you a 250 dollar ticket once you pass the line. its a total scam. even when you make a left turn and the light turns red after less then a second after the yellow, you get a ticket. i cant believe the city has this garbage!


    well well….don’t forget who put these ATM machines up there to line their fat wallets on another corrupt IL. deal…..Vote these creepy corrupt slobs out of office, most are undercover child molesters any how…..

  • Kenneth Bitout

    PLEASE read your rules of the road. It states you MAY make a right turn on read. You do NOT have to turn on red. Very poor reporting by CBS, you do NOT know what they are talking about. Can’t your station report on something better? I guess that’s why ABC is #1.


    i am waiting for someone to come up with a way to block the sensors for these cameras. the person who invents this gadget will be a super millionaire. i will be the first one to buy one for my wife. she has gotten two tickets in chicago, the red light camera capital of the world. as for tollway driving i am a lead foot so i bought a state of the art radar detector. a trooper with a lazer gun does not scare me. truckers drive at 70mph not 55 believe me i drive 60 miles of tollway driving everyday. there are no cops to watch them and the truck lobby have our politicians in their pockets.

  • becky

    These cameras freeze when it is too cold and when it rains starts mulfunctioning and those poor drivers who drive through this intersection get all kinds of tickets for no reason at all. Only when the sun comes out and the camera starts warming up… then works properly. There is no way to protect the machine from the elements so it acts out and you get tickets even though you were following the law.
    Can someone change this cameras for a better ones?
    We are paying so much money for tickets that we are not supposed to get.

  • JJJ

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

    How can i put a camera on the stand? I don’t understand why we the people don’t fight to get them taken down. Minnesota took it to there supreme court and they had to take them all down. lets get them all taken down!!!!

  • Ricardo Fdel

    It doesn’t matter what municipality you drive though, if there’s a camera & you proceed thru the intersection in any way other than a stale green, you will have that lovely white light in your mirrors. Thankfully I can use public transportation which led me to sell my car. I haven’t driven in two years & not a single ticket since.

    • gary katz

      I have to admit I’ve started to fantasize about inventing a device that, when I press a button on my dashboard, drops a cover over my license plates. Then, when I drive through one of these problematic intersections, I can activate the cover, roll down my window and extend my middle finger for the camera!

      • Danny

        Gary –

        You make it, and I will be your first customer. I like the way you think…

  • Larry

    The cameras are scams (revenue grabs) and do nothing to increase safety. If you drive in the city enough, you’re bound to get one sooner or later. They’re up and down Ashland and Halsted on the north side and Harlem and other streets on the south side. I’ve even seen them in the hood. And they are burgeoning. They’ll be at every single intersection one day.

    All the cameras do for drivers is make driving dangerous. People are starting to get familiar with where they’re located and tend to ride the brake if they see the blinking don’t walk signs. Then, they either continue braking or gun it through the intersection. That’s a hazard for a lot of drivers and peds.

    Remove the cameras for safety’s sake. Won’t happen though.

  • cj

    I break out in a cold sweat when approaching an intersection that has those dam cameras – Maybe I could counter sue with health concerns over a panic attack

  • Dennis G

    Like fine print in advertising, the red light bandit has its own agenda, and its going to cost you a days pay to find out what it says. By then you have lost already.

  • Danny

    If I am going to make a left turn at one of those intersections, I admit I stop and wait and I don’t care who honks. As peviously mentioned, the rules of the road state you may proceed after coming to a complete stop, if it is safe to do so. I would tell anyone that I saw a squirrel or a rat (depending on what part of the city or county I am in) crossing in front of me and that it was not safe to proceed. But I only do this when I am caught at the intersection. My preferred alternative is to approach the intersection slowly, from way back, while waiting for the light to turn green…

  • Toss them out

    was kind of hopeing that them getto thugs and hood rats would super glueing and stealing them parking merter boxes or busting in them….and how about them taggers hitting them camera’s…go to a jury trail …no-body will convict you we all hate them….

  • Vicky

    Dear state of ILLAnnoy: if someone rear-ends my car at one of these dangerous and moronic interesections, I will be suing the living you-know-what out of this state. Better collect those fines for my lawsuit. Love, me.

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