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2 Investigators: The Red-Light Cameras That Generate The Most Tickets

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The bane of Chicago motorists: red-light cameras. (CBS)

The bane of Chicago motorists: red-light cameras. (CBS)

Pam Zekman Pam Zekman
Pulitzer-prize winning reporter Pam Zekman serves on CBS 2 Chicago’s...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Red-light cameras are big moneymakers. And certain intersections are top spots for getting tickets.

CBS2’s Pam Zekman identifies the best intersections to avoid in both the city of the Chicago and the suburbs — if you don’t want to get nailed.

As the city moves to install cameras to catch speeders, the red light cameras continue to be controversial.

The tell-tale flashing light means another motorist has been hit with a red light ticket at Lake Shore Drive and Belmont, which was last year’s top intersection for red light tickets. There were 18,446 red light tickets issued, bringing in more than $1.5 million in revenue.

“It deterred me,” Victoria Lautman says. “I used to go through on every yellow light here.”

Since the city first installed red-light cameras eight years ago, the intersection at 99th and Halsted has raised the most revenue over that period — $8.6 million in fines paid for 99,975 tickets.

Other top Red Light ticket corners in the city include:

Belmont and Kedzie, with 75,259 tickets; Kostner and North Avenue, with 62,530; and Hollywood and Sheridan, with 57,870 tickets issued.

Cermak and Harlem in Berwyn is one of the top suburban intersections for red light tickets. Last year, 15,837 tickets were issued and raised $817,000 in revenue for the town.

Other top suburban locations last year include: Rand Road and Gold Road in Des Plaines, with 8,745 tickets; Cicero and 95th Street in Oak Lawn, with 5,754 tickets; and North and Gary Avenues in Carol Stream — 1,916 tickets.

Have accidents been reduced as a result of these cameras? Not really, says one expert.

“My own research has shown that red light cameras do not offer a significant safety benefit,” University of Illinois Prof. Rajiv Shah says. “I think the purpose of the red light cameras, the way they’re being used now is to raise revenues for cities.”

That revenue amounts to about $61 million a year for Chicago.

City officials continue to say the purpose of the cameras is not to raise money, but to increase safety.

The city claims they reduce the number of accidents, but officials have not come up with documentation.

Here are the data used for this report:

Suburban statistics

Top Chicago Intersections, Most Recent Year

Top Intersections, Multi-Year

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