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Tickets Issued as Result of Red Light Cameras in Chicago

September 9th, 2014 at 7:44 am

traffic violations, Illinois traffic laws, Illinois criminal defense attorney, Almost every driver will tell you that receiving a ticket for a driving infraction is a hassle. According to a recent article published online though, many Illinois motorists may have more to complain about than the average driver. The article reported that potentially thousands of Chicago drivers may have been issued undeserved tickets in connection with red light cameras used within the city. Apparently there has been a series of sudden spikes in such traffic citations that city officials have been unable to explain.

The Investigation

The Tribune conducted an investigation into the over four million tickets issued to drivers since 2007. They found that deviations in the city’s network of 380 red light cameras were caused by both faulty equipment and human adjustment. Many of the spikes in ticketing reportedly lasted weeks, despite the fact that ticketing patterns were supposed to be monitored every day. Transportation officials in Chicago claimed they had no knowledge of such significant deviations associated with ticketing and the equipment. Now, questions are being raised about the traffic enforcement program in Chicago. A federal corruption probe is allegedly underway. To be clear, the true cause of the influx in tickets has not yet been determined. Potential sources being suggested include everything from corruption and bribery, to technological issues and malfunctions, to something that was purely an oversight and accidental.

Ticketed Drivers

No matter the cause of the erroneous tickets, one other issue undoubtedly needs to be addressed: refunding the drivers who were unjustly fined. The investigation identified questionable tickets that reached the tens of thousands. Some cameras that averaged just one ticket per day were found to have spiked up to 56 per day over a two-week period, before returning to normal. Other cameras were found to have issued over 500 tickets in 12 days for an infraction that should have represented a significant change in enforcement; this same type of infraction generated only a dozen tickets over a six-month period previously.

While the normal percentage of drivers who are successful in challenging red light tickets in Chicago hovers at about 10 percent, drivers who were ticketed during spikes have been successful in their challenges as often as 45 percent of the time. This could suggest that many cases where drivers were ticketed during spikes were bad cases or weak to begin with.

System Failure

The sudden increase in tickets, whether due to a change in ticketing procedure or a system malfunction, is undermining the goal of fair and consistent traffic enforcement. Experts seem to agree that one remedial measure should be for the city to consider refunding drivers who were ticketed unfairly. Others went so far as to say there is an ethical obligation to do so, including those cases where drivers may have deserved the tickets due to a clear violation of the law.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been issued a traffic citation in the city of Chicago or the surrounding area, the Illinois defense attorneys at the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office.

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