Chicago Agrees To Make Red Light Camera System Barely Less Corrupt By Increasing Grace Period By 0.2 Seconds

from the yay? dept

It’s been well-established at this point that red light cameras, those devices that issue tickets and blinding lights to drivers not stopping on red, have always been less about safety and more about the revenue produced by the tickets. That really should be enough a story of corruption for anyone to cast a wary eye at cities implementing these cameras, but you really have to admire the brazen committment to corruption the city of Chicago displayed when initially contracting with the company Redflex for its camera system. The CEO for Redflex was brought up on federal charges for bribing city officials, including offering some condos and cars, because why mess around? Yet, even once we move past the corrupt manner the cameras were put in place, Chicago saw tons of its tickets tossed by a judge who noted that the city wasn’t even following its own rules for due process on those tickets. Furthermore, the cameras were set to have a “grace period,” the buffer time for which a driver could run a red light and still not be ticketed, of .1 seconds, even as other major cities’ grace periods were three times that, and it was laughably clear how this system was designed entirely to bring in city revenue.

Well, rejoice Chicagoans, because the city has been dragged into extending that grace period to the .3 seconds shared by other major cities, making the whole thing barely less nauseating.

Under the new policy, which was announced Monday, the grace period for Chicago’s red lights will move from 0.1 seconds to 0.3 seconds. This will bring the Windy City in line with other Americans metropolises, including New York City and Philadelphia. In a statement, the city agency said that this increase would “maintain the safety benefits of the program while ensuring the program’s fairness.”

Except it really doesn’t. This is the same system, no longer operated by Redflex due to the company’s corrupt practices, but still born of that same corruption and forever tainted by it. Unaddressed thus far are the city’s failings in due process, nevermind any valid analysis showing a safety benefit to any of this. Instead, the city has basically agreed to collect slightly less revenue in its traffic camera revenue program. This, by the way, is the city with the largest red light camera program in the nation. So… yay?

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Companies: redflex

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Comments on “Chicago Agrees To Make Red Light Camera System Barely Less Corrupt By Increasing Grace Period By 0.2 Seconds”

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14 Comments
Kevin Hayden (profile) says:

Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 28th, 2017 @ 4:59am

You’re missing the point. They’re NOT traffic control devices.
They are revenue-generation tools. The more unpredictable the better. That way, they can collect more of your $$$$. Just wondering if anyone has checked the distance from one end of the intersection(s) to the other and checked it against speed limits. A vehicle entering as the light turns yellow should be able to fully exit at the maximum speed of the roadway (ie: without speeding), before the light turns red. If not, then there’s definitely something corrupt going on.

David says:

I don't see the revenue problem.

Just make the yellow phase half a second shorter, and you are back in business. Heck, make it shorter only on the lights with a camera. Or give it a random component. Even if you don’t get to write up the brake artist managing to come to a full surprise stop, you’ll get to write a great citation for the guy tail-ending him.

For traffic safety.

ShadowNinja (profile) says:

The grace period doesn’t matter, either way I’d be more likely to cause an accident by panicking and slamming to a stop when I otherwise would just drift through as the light turns yellow and red.

And either way I’d still avoid their city like the plague because of the cameras, because I don’t like the idea of getting into a car accident because of the cameras encouraging unsafe behavior.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

As a former Chicago native, I expect:
– that the Judge who decided this will be reassigned to the worst position possible (pet court?);
– that this change will be reversed as soon as possible, with the grace period going down to 0 or possibly -1 to make up for lost revenue;
– and that the Judge will start to receive a nearly unending stream of bogus red light tickets.

Feldie47 (profile) says:

Y'aint seen nuttin yet

Got a problem with these redlight moneymakers? Take a ride on the Mass. Pike. Everything is now cashless, EZ Pass and license plate readers. Here’s what that means when no one is around to take your cash:

1) Passage through the tolls is time stamped.
2) Passage from one to the other is calculated.
3) Your average speed s recorded.
4) In the future ( a year?, 2?) when you get your bill in the mail you’ll get your s-p-e-e-d-i-n-g surcharge with it.
5) No more option of avoiding the electronic monitor.

jcwconsult (profile) says:

Red light cameras

Chicago’s gesture to reduce camera tickets by 29% is a ruse designed to convince gullible people that the camera racket is now fair. IT IS NOT. If Chicago added one second to the yellow intervals or changed the grace to one full second, the violation rates would drop by about 80%. This would both kill the profits AND reveal that the cameras have been a government-run for-profit racket to ticket mostly safe drivers for the sole purpose of illegitimate profits.

James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

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