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Chicago Sends More Than 100,000 "Bogus" Camera-Based Speeding Tickets 200

Ars Technica, based on an in-depth report (paywalled) at the Chicago Tribune, says that the city of Chicago has been misusing traffic cameras to trigger automated speeding tickets. In particular, these cameras are placed in places where there are enhanced penalties for speeding, putatively intended to increase child safety. The automated observation system, though, has been used to send well over 100,000 tickets that the Tribune analysis deems "questionable," because they lack the evidence which is supposed to be required -- for instance, many of these tickets are unbacked by evidence of the presence of children, or were issued when the speeding rules didn't apply (next to a park when that park was closed).
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Chicago Sends More Than 100,000 "Bogus" Camera-Based Speeding Tickets

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  • by harshath.jr ( 1293242 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @01:47PM (#50963647)
    word of the day
  • With so many cities banning the cameras, I'm still wondering how these companies can get their costs back?

    • Doing exactly what the article states. Cheating people from their money with questionable tickets..I believe you should be able to fight them, and either A: Get monetary damages or your attorney fee's paid by the state if you used one and you win the case..that will solve a lot of issues right there.
      • by SQLGuru ( 980662 )

        Illinois needs some way to raise enough money to pay its lottery debts.......

        • Even this won't help that... First, it is the City of Chicago that's collecting the fines and they won't share with the state. Second, the state claims to have the money but until the state has a budget so it can buy the blank checks, the envelope and the stamp to put on it (not to mention pay the person to print it, stuff it and drop it in the mail) NOBODY except the state legislators will a check from the state....
  • Wow. Who would ever expect a city like Chicago to be involved in something that is essentially racketeering?

  • by FeatherBoa ( 469218 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @02:17PM (#50963945)

    (1) go to the local police station, city offices, courts, city hall and make a note of a bunch of license plates in the employee lots.
    (2) print out paper license plate sized versions of the plate numbers
    (3) park a car at the speed sensor.
    (4) tape a paper copy on the back of the car
    (5) cover a softball with tin-foil
    (6) play catch in front of the speed sensor
    (7) repeat for all your fake license plates
    (8) ?????
    (9) Profit!

    • That's one of the most inspired posts I've ever seen. 1) Find out the douche who approved the cameras. 2) Hire a car closely matching what he drives. 3) Passable cutout plates with metallic paint. 4) Get him enough points in varied locations in a single night to get his license suspended. 5) Retire.

      The douche gets it dismissed but it takes him a court fight to do so.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        Is there a location where the camera tickets give points? Where I've seen them used, they are yet another class of crime. Speed tickets used to be actual real crimes. Jury trials and all that. They started as misdemeanors. There was no other legal classification to put them under. Then "infraction" was created. It was a sub-crime that didn't have any of the protections, but had lower damages as well. Then, where speed cameras have been used, I've seen those as a lower crime than the non-crime infrin
  • by smoothnorman ( 1670542 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @02:26PM (#50964015)
    I don't know the case for Chicago, but Seattle's traffic ticketing cameras are run by a private contractor. It works like this: the city doesn't have to pay to install or monitor or maintain the equipment and doesn't even own it, but is assured of its accuracy and, of course, a substantial cut of the revenue. Reports roll in of notably increased 'safety' at the monitored intersection, (yet it's not clear who prepares this data). Does a private interest which understandably wants to maximize its profits being able to assess violation fines from the public concern you? it sure as hell does me.
  • Bringing such a criminal charge would ensure that it NEVER HAPPENED AGAIN.
  • Illegal Here. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Matheus ( 586080 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @02:56PM (#50964327) Homepage

    One of the best perks of living in MN:
    These got their day in court a number of years ago and LOST! Photo traffic enforcement is unconstitutional according to MN's version. A real cop has to do his job for you to get a ticket. :)

  • I seem to remember a few years back when there was a particularly snowy winter they were handing out tickets for illegal right turns like candy. The city wasn't able to keep up with snow removal and had just been plowing snow and slush to the side of the road. This eventually caused the right hand turn lanes at most intersections to be covered in banks of snow and ice several feet tall. Drivers did the common sense thing and were turning right on red, normally legal, from the right most lane that was passab

  • These devices are nothing more than cash registers. I remember there being a site in The Netherlands or Belgium, that showed pictures and made fun when people decided to attack these devices; sometimes with gasoline-filled car tires, taking them down like trees with angle grinders, using heavy fireworks, etc. Because of the locations these devices were most profitable weren't of course really busy, chances of getting caught were slim (and potential witnesses might even cheer the perpetrators on). Went on wa
  • by Zeorge ( 1954266 ) on Thursday November 19, 2015 @05:31PM (#50965643)
    In Montgomery County MD they use traffic camera vans that they drive out and park on the side of the road. Locals obviously know but outsiders do not. Any ways, out in Poolesville, MD they took the plate off of the traffic camera van, put it on a similar van, and sped past many times racking up huge points and fines.
  • This is probably a state-by-state thing, but I had not seen them before, excluding "limit of X mph when children are present". I for one would really love to see time - or otherwise triggered - based speed limits in other situations as well. A situation that comes to mind in particular is construction zones; they leave the cones up all weekend after leaving at 2pm Friday and there isn't a worker or equipment there again until 8am Monday.
  • Photo-radar and red lights cameras being used to generate revenue rather than to increase safety? What else is new.

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus