With all the wringing of hands over the installation of red-light cameras in Waukegan and with Gurnee planning to do the same this spring, Wisconsin lawmakers also are pondering a bill that would let municipalities use cameras to crack down on the thousands of roadway renegades who plow through intersections. They'd get tickets mailed straight to their door. Just one more reason for Illinois speed demons not to cross the Cheddar Curtain.
Badger State lawmakers contend cameras would capture more violators and send a signal to
lead-foots, including Illinoisans heading north for summertime fun, to slow down, saving money on injuries and
accident response. Rep. Terese Berceau, D-Madison, a bill co-sponsor, said the cameras might force better driving habits in the state's capital city, where running red lights has reached epidemic levels.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans witness someone running a red light more than once a week and one in three knows someone who was hurt or killed because of a red-light runner, according to a survey cited in a 2006 Federal Highway Administration report on red-light cameras. The report said nearly 900 people were killed and nearly 170,000 hurt in crashes caused by a red-light runner nationwide in 2004.
A Wisconsin Transportation Department fiscal estimate attached to the bill estimates an average of about 37,000 red-light violations in Wisconsin in each of the last three years. Fifteen states already have laws that allow red-light cameras and about 325 communities use them, including Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The Hound has a feeling that other Lake County communities will see how these cameras will work in Waukegan and Gurnee before they install their own. It's just a matter of time, motorists, just a matter of time.