Saturday, December 19, 2009

How FRG red light camera works

Maybe they all work this way, but I learned something about red-light cameras late this afternoon.

I was in Fox River Grove and traveling west on Route 22. As I approached U.S. 14, the light was red, and I made a full stop before reaching the stop bar. The stop bar was hard to see on the wet pavement, thanks to the cheap paint that IDOT uses. But I saw it and stopped before I reached it.

Having seen the Photo Enforcement sign on the right shoulder and the similar sign across the intersection, I made certain that I made a complete stop. One thousand one, one thousand two. You know the type of stop. Four wheels stopped. Vehicle stopped. The kind of stop that sometimes results in a remodeling job on your back bumper by the guy behind who doesn't expect you to stop.

When westbound U.S. 14 was clear, I turned right. Flash! Darn! Why did the red-light camera photograph my car?

I circled back around to see whether I had missed a "No Right Turn on Red" sign. No, there is no such sign.

So I telephoned the Fox River Grove P.D. to register my complaint. The dispatcher did not want to dispatch an officer and told me not to worry and that not everybody gets tickets.

The last time I heard "Don't worry about it", it cost me $656, so I did worry about it. I left a message for Sgt. Domagala, who is the red-light enforcement go-to guy at the Fox River Grove Police Department.

Within a few minutes he called me back. I obviously wasn't the only driver who has ever called him about this, and he gave me a clear explanation of how the ticketing program works.

The camera photographs any car that crosses the stop bar when the light is red. He told me that three employees of the camera company view the films and, if I had stopped before crossing the stop bar, the Fox River Grove PD will never see a violation notice.

This is probably the first time that I have ever turned right on a red at the photo-enforced intersection. Believe me, when I say that I'll never do it again. Not even after I make a full stop.


Another Lawyer said...

I feel so comfortable now that the authorities are carefully reviewing almost my every move.

Gus said...

I'm with you on that one.

If I run the light, I deserve a ticket. That part is okay with me. I did not like getting "flashed" when I had not run the light.

Sort of like getting stopped by the cop who says, "The reason I stopped you is that you didn't run the light."

The Madd Bulldog said...

I think Big-Brother (aka Nygren) is watching you via every camera! He's at the controls with a joystick in his hand and a 40 ouncer in the other. when he sees you, he pushed the button and FLASH... gotcha! DOH!

bioboy12 said...

I'm curious to learn how viewing still photographs can provide evidence of compliance. Even with time stamps, I wouldn't expect any photographs to be taken until entry is made into the intersection. There would be a time-stamped photo of the potential violation, but no photo available showing the time of stopping. And of course, this reeks of being found guilty until evidence proves otherwise.

Gus said...

bioboy12, many of the red-light systems use video, in additional to still shots. The video begins as the car approaches the intersection and can, in the case of a violation, clearly show that the driver didn't stop, or stopped and then turned against a posted prohibition sign.