A sign at the intersection of North and 5th Avenues in the village of Melrose Park, Illinois informs motorists that right turns on red are permitted after coming to a complete stop. Those who do not, the village asserts, will receive a ticket in the mail from a red light camera. Naperville motorist Brian Buchanan also found out that it is also possible for those who do stop to receive tickets.
Buchanan received a $100 citation from Redspeed after the private UK company accused his Pontiac GTO of a violation on July 13 at 7:45am (view ticket). The notice gave Buchanan August 7 either to pay the ticket or face a driver's license suspension. Buchanan did not recall running a red light that morning.
"The first thing I did was check the photographs," Buchanan said in a statement. "Then I watched the video and it proved my innocence."
The video taken of the alleged violation shows Buchanan's GTO at a full stop for three full seconds while properly signaling the intention to turn right.
"Why did I get this ticket?" Buchanan asked.
Like all municipalities that use photo enforcement, Melrose Park insists that each ticket is reviewed at least two times before being issued -- first by employees at the private vendor, Redspeed, and later by a police official. In this case, the process took just five days.
"Violations are reviewed and authorized by sworn officers of the Melrose Park Police Department," the city website explains. "Each reviewing officer has been specifically trained in the operation and review process of the Red Light Photo Enforcement Program."
Buchanan is not alone. A Minnesota motorist was accused not once but twice of violations he clearly did not commit. In trying to clear his name the man found the officials responsible for the automated ticketing program had little interest in helping him. Motorists in Missouri and California have been accused of "running a red light" while the yellow signal was still illuminated.