Red Light and Traffic Cameras in Illinois

Last updated Monday, November 7th, 2022

When you drive through the Land of Lincoln, you want to beware of red light cameras. Camera footage can be incriminating and it’s nearly impossible to dispute a ticket based on what one of these cameras catches your vehicle doing.

Red light cameras remain in heavy use in the area. So, you want to keep your guard up if you’re a Chicago area resident or drive in Illinois regularly. You need to know these devices are out there and be aware. Yes, they’re set up to keep drivers safe but that means they can catch you running red lights too.

What exactly are these things?

  • red light camera sign in illinoisRed Light Cameras. These cameras, mounted on traffic lights at busy intersections, take pictures of vehicles when they drive through a red light. Different stages of the traffic violation are shown in the multiple images taken. Typically the vehicle’s license plates, driver and offense are clearly shown. Traffic tickets arrive in the mail to be paid.
  • Traffic Data Cameras. This type of recording device, which looks similar, is also found on traffic signals and lights. However, these cameras are installed to find out and perfect the the timing of traffic signal lights. Data is collected but no tickets are issued from findings.

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Are There Red Light Cameras in the State of Illinois?

Yes, these sneaky suckers still exist in Illinois. Rural farmland and less populated areas aren’t the problem. Look out for cameras in larger metro areas. The greater Chicago region happens to have quite a few of these bad boys.

As of 2021, there were 149 local intersections impacted. These cameras are workhorses. Red light cameras do their jobs 24/7. Every. Single. Day.

The program continues since its inception in 2003. The hope is that this system will discourage running red lights. More importantly, the idea is to increase safety and save lives.

What Happens if I Ignore a Traffic Camera Ticket in Illinois?

Although nobody is going to beat your door down, you aren’t getting off scot-free. This ticket isn’t going anywhere. Neither is the fine. Technically you don’t have to act. Just know that ignoring one of these tickets can bring on the pain. You could face:

  • More Fines. If the original ticket isn’t paid when due, it increases. You could be on the hook for double the amount if the deadline is missed.
  • Vehicle Seizure. The city of Chicago can boot and seize your ride. Want to keep your wheels? Respond or pay… on time.

Legal Tip: A few years ago, you could face a suspened license for ignoring these types of tickets. In July of 2021, that policy was dropped. No longer must you live in fear of losing your license this way.

How Much is a Red Light Ticket?

If you pay within the time you’re given, you only have to cough up the basic fine. The fee for these tickets in Illinois is $100. That increases to $200 if paid late.

Doing nothing could lead to a much higher price. You could get a seizure notice from the city of Chicago. What was once a $100 ticket could now be a chunk of change. In addition to your ticket, you must now pay:

  • $60 Boot Fee
  • Any Towing Charges. Fees are $150 for vehicles weighing less than 8,000 pounds (normal cars) and $250 for vehicles weighing more. Daily vehicle storage costs range from $20 per day to $100 per day.

Feel so mad you could rip that boot off? Monkeying around with your car’s boot is a bad idea. This error in judgement could cost you $750 to $1,000.

How Long do I Have to Pay a Camera Ticket?

Generally, you have 30 days from the date ticket was issued to pay. A month can seem like plenty of time. Life happens. Things come up. If you plan on paying, take care of it sooner rather than later. Getting this fine out of the way can be one less thing off your to-do list.

What Happens if the Light Turns Red When I’m in the Middle of the Intersection?

Hopefully, nothing should happen. What color was the light when you drove into the intersection? If the traffic light was green or yellow, you should be good.

Photos help explain the story. These systems are not geared to register these actions as violations. You shouldn’t get a ticket if you wound up stuck in an intersection.

The light turning red activates the system. Tickets are intended for drivers who see red lights but choose not to stop.

How Long Does it Take Illinois to Send Out Tickets?

Think you may have been caught running a red light? If you’re expecting a nasty fine from the city of Chicago, you won’t have to wait long. Tickets tend to arrive five to seven days after the violation.

If you can’t wait a week, go online. Search to see if you’ll be getting a ticket. Enter your license number or license plate number to search. You may not have the ticket in hand but you’ll know where you stand.

Can I View Red Light Camera Violations Online?

Yes! The Windy City simplifies things with online access. Grab your ticket first. The site requests information found on your violation.

Login to the finance page of the city of Chicago’s website. Next you’ll click to view your red light video. Type in your ticket and license plate numbers. The site will then generate your footage.

Watching what took place can be interesting. While it won’t make the Top 10 on Netflix, it helps you see what the camera saw. You can also look for any discrepancies if you feel you were ticketed in error.

How Long Are Camera Violations Stored Online?

This footage is only kept online for two years. That length of time is long enough to log plenty of viewing hours. But if you’re disputing the ticket, this time may run short. Be sure to get what you need while it’s available.

Will Red Light Tickets go on my Driving Record in Illinois?

No, these tickets don’t appear on your driving record. Phew! That’s a relief! Even though your vehicle wasn’t still, red light tickets aren’t considered moving violations. There was no officer handing out citations.

You could compare this type of ticket to a parking ticket. While this violation shouldn’t be sluffed off, it’s not the end of the world either. Another bonus? Car insurance rates won’t increase.

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