On April 23, 2010, the Illinois House of Representatives approved Senate Bill 935 (Bill), which amends the Illinois Vehicle Code concerning red-light camera systems (the Red-Light Camera System Amendments). The Bill is a compromise between various pieces of pending legislation and contains more limited procedural changes than the dramatic steps – including outright bans of the systems – that some legislators sought.

Here is a summary of the Red-Light Camera System Amendments. To discuss these amendments, please contact Andrew Fiske at 312.928.6006, or any Holland & Knight lawyer with whom you work.

  1. Limitation on Issuance of Violations for Failure to Stop at Stop Lines and Crosswalks. The Bill relaxes enforcement of certain “right turn on red” violations by prohibiting the issuance of citations to drivers who come to a complete stop before an intersection but do not stop precisely behind the designated stop line or crosswalk, unless one or more pedestrians or bicyclists are present. Previously, failure to stop before the stop line or crosswalk would constitute a violation in any event.
  2. Requirement to Conduct Safety Impact Studies. Municipalities operating red-light camera systems must conduct a statistical analysis of the impact of the system on traffic safety at each monitored intersection by evaluating safety data before and after installation. The Bill provides no specific timeframe for completing the analysis, which must proceed within a “reasonable amount of time” after installation and must consider sufficient data before and after installation to provide a “statistically valid” comparison of the impact of the system on traffic safety based upon the “best available crash, traffic, and other data.” The analysis must be publicly available and published on the municipal website. If the analysis for the 36-month period after installation shows an increase in the accident rate at an intersection, the municipality must undertake additional studies to determine the cause and severity of the accidents, and may (but is not required to) take action that it deems necessary or appropriate to reduce accidents at the intersection.
  3. Additional Review of Violations by Law Enforcement Officers or Retired Officers. Currently, a technician must review red-light camera images to decide whether a violation notice should be issued. The Bill requires an additional review of the technician’s determination by a law enforcement officer or retired law enforcement officer from the issuing municipality. In municipalities with over one million inhabitants or counties with over three million inhabitants, a “fully-trained reviewing technician” can conduct this additional review instead.
  4. No Additional Fee for Administrative Hearings. Violators cannot be charged an additional fee for requesting an administrative hearing on the violation. This provision appears to require communities that impose administrative hearing charges or fees to waive those fees for red-light camera violations.
  5. Payment of Fines within 25 Days After Administrative Hearing. The Bill gives violators up to 25 days to pay their fines following an administrative hearing. This provision applies to both red-light camera violations and automated railroad crossing violations.
  6. Internet Access to Violation Images. The municipality must provide an Internet address where violators can view images of their violations, and must include that Internet address in the notice of violation.
  7. Posting of Camera Locations on Website. The municipality must publish on its website a list of intersections with red-light camera systems.
  8. Yellow-Light Intervals Must Be Standard. Yellow-light intervals for intersections with red-light camera systems must conform with the required yellow-light intervals under the Illinois Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (IMUTCD).
  9. Certified Reports of Five or More Unpaid Violations. The Bill specifies that municipalities must make a certified report to the Illinois Secretary of State of violators who have not paid fines for five or more red-light camera violations.