Lawsuit claims Chicago red-light cameras violate state law

Lawsuit claims Chicago red-light cameras violate state law

A class-action lawsuit claims Chicago’s red-light camera program fails to provide ticketed motorists with information required by state law.

A group of Chicago drivers is challenging the city’s controversial red-light camera system with a class-action lawsuit, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, alleging the program fails to satisfy a number of state law requirements.

The Municipal Code of Chicago requires each violation notice to include certain information for ticketed motorists. This language mirrors the Illinois Vehicle Code, which requires the vehicle owner’s name and address to be included along with the violation charges. Notices must also include an affirmation of evidence of the violation and a warning that failure to respond to the notice is an effective admission of liability, putting the vehicle owner at risk of a suspended license.

The suit, filed Sept. 17, claims the city isn’t fulfilling those requirements, according to the Sun-Times, and amounts to an “unconstitutional” and “unlawful” violation of state law. The filing is seeking an injunction preventing the enforcement of any red-light camera violation notices.

This lawsuit is only the latest legal action taken against Chicago’s red-light camera program. In 2017, the city approved a settlement of nearly $40 million after a previous class-action lawsuit alleged that the program had violated 1.2 million motorists’ due process rights.

While plagued by corruption and flaws, Chicago’s red-light and speed camera program has proven lucrative for city government, generating over $54 million in revenue in 2017 alone. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration has insisted that the program’s enforcement measures are for safety purposes. However, a May 2013 audit by the Office of the Inspector General found no evidence that the administration used safety data to determine the location of over 300 cameras. More recently, a study from Case Western Reserve University found that red-light cameras fail to increase traffic safety.

Offering little in the way of public safety, these programs primarily serve as reliable revenue sources for local officials. But Chicago and other Illinois municipalities should discontinue their red-light camera programs, which have for too long burdened motorists – without making them safer.

Fortunately, taxpayers are not helpless in the fight against flawed red-light camera programs. By using this tool, you can find out if there’s a red-light camera program in your community, and take action by contacting your mayor and voicing your support for a ban on red-light cameras.

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