Are you thinking about blowing that red light in Illinois? If you are, think again at least if you're in the Chicago area. Here's a list of the Top 10 red-light cameras that all top $1.5 million in fines during 2022.

Illinois Policy says local Illinois governments collected over $500 million in red-light camera ticket revenue from 2019 through 2023.  The amount of red-light camera fines issued to Illinois drivers totaled more than $1.56 billion since 2008. A big part of that revenue comes from Chicago's red light cameras which have fined drivers in Chicago over $915.5 million during that same period.

In Illinois there are 527 chances to be caught by a red light camera, however, some are more likely to catch drivers than others. Ten cameras in Illinois each produced more than $1.5 million in fines, in 2022 alone.

Here are the red light cameras in Illinois where you're most likely to get a big fat fine for a violation, and how much in fines they generated in 2022. This is according to Illinois Policy.

  • Fox River Grove, Illinois 22 & Northwest Highway, $1.51 million in fines
  • Oakbrook Terrace, West 22nd Street & Illinois 83, $1.5 million in fines
  • Matteson, Illinois 50 & US 30, $1.56 million in fines
  • Chicago, 4200 S Cicero Avenue, $1.65 million in fines
  • Rolling Meadows, W Algonquin Road & Illinois 53, $1.78 million in fines
  • Evergreen Park, S Kedzie Avenue & W 87th Street, $1.93 million in fines
  • Berwyn, Harlem & W 22nd Street, $1.95 million in fines
  • Crestwood, S Cicero Avenue & Cal Sag, $2.21 million in fines
  • Chicago, 400 W Belmont, $2.3 million in fines
  • North Riverside, Harlem & Cermak, $3.32 million in fines

For those familiar with the geography of Chicagoland, you're not safe from the red light cameras anywhere. From southern suburbs like Matteson and Crestwood to western suburbs like Berwyn, Oakbrook Terrace, and North Riverside, to the north and south side of Chicago. Get tripped up at a red light, and there's a good chance you'll have to pay.

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It's not surprising then that some of the 89 municipalities in Illinois that use red-light cameras issued more red-light tickets than they have residents. It's not all about making our streets safer either.

In exploring the issue for my article "Red Light Cameras In Missouri: Money Grab or Public Safety?" I found that ProPublica got then-Chicago Mayor Lori Lifgtfoot's policy chief to acknowledge that the best way to reduce traffic fatalities would be to fix the underlying road infrastructure issues that contribute to unsafe driving. Not necessarily red light cameras.

The Illinois Policy article where I sourced this information cites a study by the Chicago Tribune and the Illinois Department of Transportation that found over half of the intersections where red-light cameras were placed were among the safest in Illinois before the red-light cameras went up.

So the bottom line, in Illinois, especially around Chicagoland, gunning the gas trying to beat the light most likely will cost you some cash. Remember to smile while running that red light, let the camera catch your good side. At least you can admire that when you get that love note from the local municipality that busted you.

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