Red light cameras tag thousands for undeserved tickets


From the Chicago Tribune:
Thousands of Chicago drivers have been tagged with $100 red light fines they did not deserve, targeted by robotic cameras during a series of sudden spikes in tickets that city officials say they cannot explain, a Tribune investigation has found.

The Tribune’s analysis of more than 4 million tickets issued since 2007 and a deeper probe of individual cases revealed clear evidence that the deviations in Chicago’s network of 380 cameras were caused by faulty equipment, human tinkering or both.

Chicago transportation officials say they had no knowledge of the wild swings in ticketing until they were told by the Tribune — even though City Hall legally required the camera vendor to watch for the slightest anomaly in ticketing patterns every day. Many of the spikes lasted weeks.

The lack of oversight raises new questions about the controversial traffic enforcement program, the largest in the country, now embroiled in a federal corruption probe into allegations that the city’s longtime red light camera manager took bribes from the camera company.

What difference, at this point, does it make?”


I like the “Red light cameras.” I want more of them. But, they do need to be accurate.

Unlike many, I find no “invasion of privacy issues.” I see people run lights every single day and they deserve to be fined heavily for it. I see them race yellow lights, rather than slow down; pass illegally to get through red lights; and simply fail to pay any attention to what they are doing. I have started to wonder how half the population even passes a driving test in the first place.

So, fix the lights so their accurate, and then let the tickets fly.


My c/o red light ticket cameras is that they ticket the registered owner of the car and not the driver; until that can be fixed, I say get rid of them.


The people of Chicago bear tremendous moral culpability for the vast corruption that they tolerate.


What about a situation where heavy traffic suddenly comes to a stop because of gridlock just as you are in the middle of the intersection while the light is green, and the light then turns yellow and then red while you are still stuck in the middle? This almost happened to me recently. I just returned from a trip to Chicago with my family a couple of weeks ago, and the traffic there can get heavy.


That reminds me of the funny news story where the red light camera flashed a horse that was running past the speed limit. Hahaha. :smiley:


I don’t know about where you live but here in Ontario the law states that a vehicle shouldn’t cross an intersection unless you can safely cross it over. i.e. in bumper to bumper traffic stay at the intersection until it clears for the car to cross. By looking quickly at the pedestrian sign can give you an indication of when the light is about to turn yellow and then red.


Red light or any other traffic cameras are not there there to make the roads safer. They are about revenue enhancement. As they are operated by private companies whose sole objective is to make money they are open to all sorts of abuse as the article shows. I also take issue at the notion that the populace needs to be monitored and controlled by such methods. Only the most naive would be OK with this encroachment on our lives by, yes I’ll say it, Big Brother.


I have often wondered how exactly these can be constitutional.

Is it not the job of the government to enforce law and not the job of a private contractor?

I also wonder why (at least where I live) the yellow light interval shrunk by a couple of seconds once the cameras went in.


I received one of those citations for not coming to a full stop before turning right. The video showed a “marginal” stop but I decided it wasn’t worth fighting. Lesson learned.


Seems to me this police dept and probably many others around the country, are relying on people to speed in order for their revenue? How else could ticket quotas be explained and/or justified?

Somehow, this seems wrong to me, its like the city literally relies on a large number of people to break the law each month, whether it be speeding or DUIs, those fines add up quickly! I think this system creates too much of an incentive for them to write more and more tickets, when really, their goal SHOULD be trying to stop people from doing this on a regular basis, and its clear that ticketing and fining them HAS NOT worked…since people continue to speed, Im a bit surprised they havent tried coming up with something new to try and stop this from happening…maybe involve the public, local schools, offer a prize to the group or person that comes with the best idea to stop speeding, or at least slow them down.

The definition of the word INSANITY, is continuing to do something over and over, but expecting a different result, This seems like what police forces are doing when it comes to speeding tickets, they have been the ‘norm’ since probably the early 1960s, yet more and more people speed each day, kind of funny, no one recognizes their efforts are not working…??

but when it comes to other crimes, they very quickly recognize when something is not working and get the laws changed to make them more effective…strange that they only do this for some crimes and not all.


I have found few people are truly insane.

When it appears they are doing the same over and over to get the same results, odds are they are getting the results they want.


Speeding tickets have surely been the norm since before the 60s; haven’t you seen those old black and white movies with the cops hiding behind the billboards?


So give the owner the option of nominating who was driving - most of the time it is the owner and when it isn’t the owner would usually know who was using the car.

I have no issue with red light cameras or speed cameras. They’re fairly standard in these parts. I don’t run red lights. I don’t speed. Nor do I allow people who do to borrow my car. If they did, then I’d have no issues nominating them as the driver and passing the ticket on.


I had a situation recently that has placed me in total opposition to these devices. A ticket in my name was sent to my parents’ address for running a light in a vehicle I’ve never driven when I hadn’t even been to that state for nigh on two years. The face of the driver apparently matched my driver’s license photo from when I was 18 and living at home. It took me months to clear it up. It was made worse by the fact that the driver turned out to be my brother, running the light on the way to the hospital to see his newborn, premature daughter before she died. Thanks be to God, the city decided that it wasn’t worth pursuing a fine against him as so much time had passed.

These cameras are touted as accurate and fair. This case was neither. First, it assigned blame to the wrong person. Second, if a cop had stopped my brother, he would have been let off with a warning at worst out of compassion.


Wait… they issue tickets by matching the face of the driver? That’s insane and I would be against that.

We just use the number plate.


Years ago, my Aunt had 6 different cars at home and 5 licensed and insured drivers.

At any given time no one knew who was driving what car.

It was all a matter of which car was most convenient to get to when it was time to go.

No one kept a specific schedule for the cars, and I really doubt weeks after the fact anyone knew when they were driving any specific car.


Yeah, and here we are in 2014, people still speed on a consistent basis, so this particular law has not been at all effective, if it had, we would see a decrease in speeding over the years.

But you have to read between the lines a bit, the goal is NOT to stop this activity, but to keep on profiting from it! LOL Now that is ridiculous and needs to be stopped asap imo. The job of law enforcement is to serve and protect, enforce laws, NOT to figure out ways to fund their agencies by taking advantage of people continually breaking the laws.


It’s their solution to the problem of rental cars, borrowed cars, stolen cars, etc. Several places do the same thing.


But rental car agencies have accurate records of who had the car and when.

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