Tuesday, October 14, 2014

We Don't Call 'Em "Cash Cams" For Nothin'

I saw this in the Chicago Tribune (last week?  I think?)  and had meant to pass it along but never did, do thanks to Alert Reader "DS" for redirecting my attention back to this textbook example of my former home town's freewheeling approach to generating revenue.  From the ABA Journal:

Chicago generated 77,000 additional red-light tickets by shortening yellow-light times, report says POSTED OCT 10, 2014 11:09 AM CDT


The city of Chicago shaved a tenth of a second from a yellow light threshold this spring, generating 77,000 tickets for motorists caught on camera for running red lights, according to the city inspector general.
The unannounced change allowed red-light ticketing when yellow lights lasted a minimum of 2.9 seconds, as opposed to three seconds in the past, report the Chicago Tribune (in stories here and here), the Chicago Sun-Times and DNAinfo. The fine is $100 per ticket. The city has agreed to raise the threshold back to three seconds.
The lower yellow-light minimum was instituted as the city was switching red-light vendors amid a corruption investigation. A former city hall manger of the red-light program, John Bills, was accused of taking bribes to help the first vendor, Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., win the contract.
The report (PDF) found the city mismanaged the red-light program under Redflex. The review by Inspector General Joseph Ferguson was spurred by a Chicago Tribune report that found dramatic spikes in tickets at 12 intersections leading to 13,000 questionable tickets.
Today's Lesson is Brought to You by the Letter “C”


Grung_e_Gene said...

Gotta balance the budget somehow and whom better to balance it upon than the backs of the working class. Fortunately from the article the tickets which came from the yellow lights under 3.0 seconds are going to be vacated.

JerryB said...

We've got a few "camera monitored" intersections here. A city council member is trying to get them yanked. They're bullshit. I've often seen them go off when clearly no one was running the light.

I also discovered that there is no enforcement mechanism if you decide not to pay the fine.

Ok, then said...

The same thing happened in Albuquerque -- for a time. People noticed and declaimed the shortened yellow light. The company responsible didn't generate enough funds for the city. Now the red light cameras are no more.