(CBS) — Chicago’s Inspector General has just begun an investigation and audit into the operation of the city’s red-light camera system, CBS 2 has learned.
The review can’t come too soon for people who think the system is rigged against drivers.READ MORE: CTA Orange, Green Line Service Partially Halted, Loop 'L' Trains Snagged Due To Medical Emergency At Roosevelt
CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports.
The intersection of Hollywood and Sheridan Road where north Lake Shore Drive ends is one of the city’s top 10 red-light revenue producers.
It’s where Batavia resident Robin Antonick got a $100 ticket for crossing into the intersection after the light had turned to red. He says the yellow light was deceptively short.
“It seemed like two seconds, but the ticket shows that it lasted three seconds. Even that is ridiculous,” Antonick says. “People are slamming their brakes on, not on the red lights, but on the yellow lights.”READ MORE: 'You Will Die:' Jovan McPherson Charged With Shooting CPD Officer, Kidnapping Woman In Lincoln Park
Chicago’s yellow lights are indeed set for three seconds, just at the absolute federal minimum for safety. But in the most of the area’s suburbs, yellows last 4 seconds to 4.5 seconds.
Critics like Antonick suspect the shorter yellows are Chicago’s way of maximizing revenue, which amounts to some $70 million a year.
In addition to the Inspector General’s audit, some aldermen are calling for public hearings into the operation of the red-light camera system.
“By and large, you can talk to anybody on the street and there’s a lot of skepticism about the system,” 45th Ward Ald. John Arena says.
Antonick agrees that hearings into the system are needed.
“It’s not safe,” he says, “and it’s not honest.”MORE NEWS: 2-Year-Old Chicago Lawn Girl Suffered Burns, Bruises Before She Died, Police Say
Since it came into being in 10 years ago, the red-light operation has raked in $375 million in fines.