CHICAGO (CBS) — Reports of red light camera “ticket spikes” for thousands of motorists have energized those who have long opposed traffic enforcement cameras.
WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports the group Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras planned to step up its protest schedule, in the wake of a Chicago Tribune investigation revealing mysterious spikes in the number of tickets issued by cameras at at least 12 intersections since 2007.
Instead of demonstrating every other weekend, Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras planned to be out every Saturday for the next four weeks.
They’ll start at 119th and Halsted, one of the 12 intersections noted by the Tribune that had unexplained, questionable spikes in red light camera tickets.
Group director Mark Wallace said the cameras are not only inaccurate and inconsistent, but unsafe and unconstitutional.
“This is all about generating revenue for private corporations, and generating revenue for the city of Chicago on the backs of the citizens,” he said.
Wallace said he knows of what he speaks; he’s been caught several times by red light cameras.
He said the sheer number of tickets issued during those mysterious spikes at 12 intersections is all the more proof red light cameras should be abolished altogether.
“We do have some 54,000 signatures that people have signed on petitions in opposition to the photo enforcement,” Wallace said.
Meanwhile, efforts are underway to abolish red-light cameras through legislation.
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker talked with state Rep. Ken Dunkin, D-Chicago, who is pushing legislation to shut them down. He voted for the cameras in 2011, but says his constituents have convinced him they need to go.
Dunkin says people have been wrongly ticketed and subjected to “injustices.”
A two-page letter signed by Ald. Bob Fioretti and seven other city council members asks the Inspector General to look into false tickets, glitches and where ticket revenue has gone.
“We’re excited that the powers be are looking at this closely,” he says.
The city of Chicago has promised to review the 9,000 tickets issued at the intersections where there were ticket spikes, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel couldn’t say how that review will be done nor whether motorists have any recourse to appeal the results.