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Chicago red light cameras: Thousands of tickets issued from faulty equipment

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has to deal with another negative as his red light cameras are found to be faulty in the issuance of thousands of traffic tickets to unsuspecting drivers in Chicago
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has to deal with another negative as his red light cameras are found to be faulty in the issuance of thousands of traffic tickets to unsuspecting drivers in Chicago
Photo by Tasos Katopodis

Chicago’s red light cameras have been of controversy for a long, long time. Now, the Chicago Tribune has released its analysis of more than 4 million tickets issued in the past seven years and the results were made public on Friday. It turns out that those red light cameras which people have been complaining about have had tickets being spit out consistently from faulty speed light cameras. The Chicago’s network of red light cameras has an army of 380 such cameras.

The probe by the Chicago Tribune reveals that there were intermittent spikes in the tickets being issued from some red light camera locations. While one day might have no tickets issued, the next would have some 80 tickets. In one specific case cited, a red light camera issued one ticket per day near the United Center in Chicago – then it suddenly spit out as many as 56 tickets daily for two weeks without explanation. The data simply does not make sense.

Transportation authorities in the city of Chicago claim they didn’t know of the huge differences in ticketing by these long-criticized machines until the Chicago Tribune issued its report. However, Chicago’s City Hall legally require that the vendor of the red light cameras should watch for even the most minor anomaly in ticketing pattern on a daily basis. The red light camera’s traffic enforcement network in Chicago has become the largest in the United States under Mayor Rahm Emanuel who has constantly been criticized for initiating programs or advancing former programs that hit citizens’ pocket books over and over again, according to ABC News.

Besides Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s failed red light camera operation, he initiated a speed camera operation that is ticketing Chicagoans when they pass public parks or schools throughout the city. The controversy regarding those money-making cameras is that the cameras operate long after public schools are closed for the day and well into the night when children should not be at the public parks unsupervised by adults. Emanuel has been offered suggestions that would be safer for children and not hit the pocket books of Chicago drivers – but he has refused to entertain the suggestions which include speed bumps and more stop signs near schools and park.

Officials are calling for refunds being given to motorists who were given tickets when spikes in the ticketing process occurred. The Chicago Tribune investigation documented more than 13,000 questionable tickets at a dozen intersections that experienced the most spikes. Other intersections also had questionable results and were responsible for tens of thousands of other tickets being issued to unsuspecting drivers as well.