No stopping red light camera use in West Dundee
By Erin Sauder For Sun-Times Media February 5, 2014 11:42AM
The red light camera at Route 31 and Boncosky Road in West Dundee will continue in operation after village officials decided to keep the program running for at least another year. | Sun-Times Media file
Updated: March 7, 2014 1:32PM
WEST DUNDEE — Whether you love them or hate them, red-light cameras will keep clicking in West Dundee for at least another year.
The village board this week received an update on the program and, at the recommendation of police staff, gave the OK to continue it for another 12 months.
West Dundee has two red-light cameras. The first one was installed in 2008 for southbound Route 31 at Boncosky Road. The second camera, installed in 2009 at Routes 31 and 72, was removed from service in April of last year due to the reconstruction of the intersection.
Police officials said the total violations approved by the department decreased from 1,308 in 2012 to 746 in 2013.
They offer three reasons for this: increased driver awareness; the removal of the camera at Routes 31 and 72, which can’t be considered for reinstallation until construction is complete; and down time due to system upgrades and failures.
In a memo to the village board, Police Chief Andrew Wieteska said red-light cameras are changing driver behavior.
“The average motorist is more conscious of the dangers of running a red light and less likely to disobey a red light in order to avoid a fine,” he said.
Wieteska also said the public has come to accept the cameras and that the police department is experiencing few complaints.
“The red-light program not only promotes safe driving but also continues to be a valuable tool for the police department in solving crimes, particularly when a suspect vehicle needs to be identified, and crash investigations,” Wieteska said.
As for the revenue received by the village from the program, it decreased from $27,282 in 2012 to $23,701 in 2013. Wieteska said the same factors that reduced the violations reduced revenue.
He anticipates that revenue for 2014 will stay flat but said it could increase significantly if the camera is reinstalled at Routes 31 and 72.
But village officials are quick to insist the program is not being used as a money-maker.
“When the first camera was approved, the goal was never about revenues,” said Trustee Tom Price. “It was about safety. I want to be very clear.”
Wieteska said police officials have to take time on their shifts to review the violations and pay an adjudicator.
“It’s definitely not a revenue-maker,” he said.
Wieteska said he believes once the Western Algonquin Bypass is complete, there will be even more traffic on Route 31.
“That’s even more justification for that camera (at Routes 31 and 72),” he said.