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Chicago Red Light Cameras Issue Thousands of Bogus Tickets

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the it's-not-a-bug,-it's-a-funding-mechanism dept.

Transportation 229

mpicpp points out a report in the Chicago Tribune saying that thousands of the city's drivers have been wrongfully ticketed for red light violations because of "faulty equipment, human tinkering, or both." The Tribune's investigation uncovered the bogus tickets by analyzing the data from over 4 million tickets issued in the past seven years. Cameras that for years generated just a few tickets daily suddenly caught dozens of drivers a day. One camera near the United Center rocketed from generating one ticket per day to 56 per day for a two-week period last summer before mysteriously dropping back to normal. Tickets for so-called rolling right turns on red shot up during some of the most dramatic spikes, suggesting an unannounced change in enforcement. One North Side camera generated only a dozen tickets for rolling rights out of 100 total tickets in the entire second half of 2011. Then, over a 12-day spike, it spewed 563 tickets — 560 of them for rolling rights. Many of the spikes were marked by periods immediately before or after when no tickets were issued — downtimes suggesting human intervention that should have been documented. City officials said they cannot explain the absence of such records.

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just follow the rules people (-1, Flamebait)

berashith (222128) | about 2 months ago | (#47485509)

so stop, then look, then go. Just like in the drivers ed manuals.

Re:just follow the rules people (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485589)

English language has rules, such as capitalization of the first letter in a sentence. FOLLOW THE RULES, BOOTLICK!

Re:just follow the rules people (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47486017)

Wait... I don't understand. You capitalized all the letters in your second sentence. What does that mean?

Re:just follow the rules people (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47486309)

It means: LISTEN UP, FAGGOT!

Re:just follow the rules people (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 2 months ago | (#47485593)

So log the workorder, then repair the system, then close the workorder. Just like in the municipal code manuals.

You, uh, didn't even make it through the summary, did you? :)

But hey, you got 1st p, so, I guess that counts for something.

Re:just follow the rules people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47486095)

So log the workorder, then repair the system, then close the workorder. Just like in the municipal code manuals.

You, uh, didn't even make it through the summary, did you? :)

But hey, you got 1st p, so, I guess that counts for something.

Aww, give Chicago a break.

They had a pen and a phone, and just did their job.

And if you like your ticket, you really will get to keep it.

Re:just follow the rules people (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485625)

This is retarded for several reasons, the first and most obvious being your suggestion is illegal at a red LIGHT.

Re:just follow the rules people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485677)

Except when turning right.

Re:just follow the rules people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485727)

This is retarded for several reasons, the first and most obvious being your suggestion is illegal at a red LIGHT.

Except when turning right.

Except when in NYC (or other places that make right turns on red illegal city wide, and all without posting any signs to that effect)

Re:just follow the rules people (4, Funny)

Quirkz (1206400) | about 2 months ago | (#47485823)

I know "the city" is pretty big, but I don't believe it's made it all the way to Chicago, yet.

Re:just follow the rules people (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485771)

That depends entirely on the state and municipality.

Most states allow you to turn on red when it is clear, but some don't. A few don't even require you to stop when making a right turn, if the way is clear. Conversely, municipalities in states that allow a turn on red can disallow it by posting notice at the intersection. And finally, a scant few states don't allow turns on red at all and are happy to ticket drivers for doing so.

Typically, people do 99% of their driving locally (or at least in their home state), so they know the relevant law. If not, err on the side of caution.

Re:just follow the rules people (1)

RatherBeAnonymous (1812866) | about 2 months ago | (#47485943)

In many states it is also legal to turn left on red when turning from a one-way street to a one-way street.

Re:just follow the rules people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485711)

I don't know about your state, but in the two I've lived in, both allowed right turns on red. You need to stop first, and if you can turn without disrupting traffic, you may do so. The same applies to left turns on red, if you're turning from a one-way street onto another one-way street.

Broken ones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485633)

A few weeks ago the one right by superdawg was in a endless flashing mode

Re:just follow the rules people (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485641)

If it were only as simple as that. Invariably red light cameras lead to officials treating it as a revenue stream and trying various ways to "maximize" that revenue.

6 Cities That Were Caught Shortening Yellow Light Times For Profit
http://blog.motorists.org/6-cities-that-were-caught-shortening-yellow-light-times-for-profit/

City’s ‘gotcha’ traffic cameras use short yellow lights to increase ticket revenue
http://nypost.com/2012/10/08/citys-gotcha-traffic-cameras-use-short-yellow-lights-to-increase-ticket-revenue-study/

Florida Officials Shortened Yellow-Light Times to Increase Violations
http://archive.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=316418

Re:just follow the rules people (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 months ago | (#47485973)

Exactly. My first impression reading TFA is that the headline is wrong. It should read: "Red Light Cameras Issue Thousands of Bogus Tickets"

Although, put that way, it's probably a couple orders of magnitude higher.

(And yes, officials were caught shortening the yellows in our town as well. It appears to be standard practice when putting in red light cameras.)

Re:just follow the rules people (4, Informative)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47486295)

It's worse in my town. they shortened the green light on busy cross streets along the main drag with the red light cameras. You are lucky to get two cars through now and if you are waiting for apposing traffic before turning left, you will be in the intersection when your light turns red. They did this right after the cameras went up.

Luckily, soon after the cameras went up, the state and a court said they couldn't be used pending a couple court cases over them. One judge already called it "criminal" in one of the cases and another called it racketeering so I think the state supreme court might not allow them either. The state (Ohio) is not banking on the courts, they are trying to pass legislation that would bar their use unless a cop was at the intersection witnessing the infraction.

One of the very first yellow light studies was conducted over Chillicothe Ohio's cams. I don't know if this is the original or not (I originally remember reading a PDF about it and from another site) but this explains a lot of the problem with short yellows.

http://www.shortyellowlights.c... [shortyellowlights.com]

Re:just follow the rules people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485649)

Couldn't even finish reading the first sentence?

Re:just follow the rules people (1)

Amtrak (2430376) | about 2 months ago | (#47485851)

Obviously you don't live in Chicago and have never driven on it's roads. But odd driving practices aside as a Chicago resident I have to say that I wouldn't be surprised at all to find out that the city was quietly adjusting the thresholds on intersections occasionally to make a quick buck. I mean it is Chicago we are talking about, the only city where the officials are more corrupt is probably Detroit and the corruption never stops at the top.

Re:just follow the rules people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47486315)

I mean it is Chicago we are talking about, the only city where the officials are more corrupt is probably Detroit

So you have never heard about New Orleans?

All branches of the government are corrupt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485521)

That's why there are three. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be enough.

Re:All branches of the government are corrupt (0)

khallow (566160) | about 2 months ago | (#47485549)

There's a lot more than three even in the US. And this has to do with the city of Chicago which is way outside the scope of the "branches of government" you refer to.

Re:All branches of the government are corrupt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485645)

Chicago is outside the scope of legislative, judiciary and executive? What do they call what they're doing?

Re:All branches of the government are corrupt (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485733)

What do they call what they're doing?

"Business as usual."

Re:All branches of the government are corrupt (1)

Mister Transistor (259842) | about 2 months ago | (#47485751)

Ongoing Criminal Enterprise?

Re:All branches of the government are corrupt (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 months ago | (#47485841)

I thought Capone died long ago on the island...

Re:All branches of the government are corrupt (3, Insightful)

seven of five (578993) | about 2 months ago | (#47486041)

Chicago has a streamlined form of government, having one branch: finance [cityofchicago.org] .

Looks ok to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485551)

1,000 out of 4,000,000 tickets makes a 0.025% error rate. That's a perfectly acceptable margin of error.

Re:Looks ok to me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485607)

thousandsssssssss.

Impressive reading skills.

Re:Looks ok to me (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485709)

thousandsssssssss.

Impressive reading skills.

That places a maximum error rate of 999,999 out of 4,000,000 at 25%. That's still a perfectly acceptable margin of error.

Re:Looks ok to me (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 2 months ago | (#47485631)

1,000 out of 4,000,000 tickets makes a 0.025% error rate. That's a perfectly acceptable margin of error.

You need to discriminate between positive and negative error rates in situations like this.

If it failed to ticket 0.025% of red-light runners, we would consider it an amazing success.

If, however, it tickets even one law-abiding driver, then it very much needs an angry mob ripping these damned things down from the poles, throwing them on the front lawn of City Hall, and demanding an end to the outsourcing of "justice" to for-profit companies.

Re:Looks ok to me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485671)

If, however, it tickets even one law-abiding driver, then it very much needs an angry mob ripping these damned things down from the poles, throwing them on the front lawn of City Hall, and demanding an end to the outsourcing of "justice" to for-profit companies.

Only because the populous is too stupid to understand numbers. Innocent people getting executed is perfectly acceptable to me as long as the error rates are low. The order of society is far more important than a single insignificant persons life.

Spoken like a true authoritarian (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about 2 months ago | (#47485695)

Authoritarianism is far more common than people realize... but then people don't know what it really is to begin with. It's not simply Nazi and then everything else.

Re:Spoken like a true authoritarian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485729)

Authoritarian societies are always the most prosperous. You see the same thing in open source projects. Authoritarian ones prosper.

Re:Spoken like a true authoritarian (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485929)

Authoritarian societies are always the most prosperous

Which is why every North Korean lives in a mansion and drives a BMW.

Re:Spoken like a true authoritarian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485983)

BMW

The perfect example of the output of a prosperous authoritarian society.

Re:Spoken like a true authoritarian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47486067)

Along with MethAmphetamine.

Re:Looks ok to me (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 2 months ago | (#47485761)

Executions shouldn't be legal, either.

Re:Looks ok to me (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 2 months ago | (#47485765)

The order of society is far more important than a single insignificant persons life.

You might want to re-think that stance - Not because I particularly value human life, but because it negates your own point.

A rolling-right-on-red doesn't threaten to undermine the order of society. Punishing people who haven't committed any crime, however, does. When people stop believing in at least the theory that our system of crime-and-punishment more-or-less works, the motivation to at least give lip-service to pointless laws completely vanishes.

Re:Looks ok to me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485789)

You might want to re-think that stance - Not because I particularly value human life, but because it negates your own point.
A rolling-right-on-red doesn't threaten to undermine the order of society.

Yes it does. Any toleration of law breaking undermines the order of society.

Re:Looks ok to me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485887)

It isn't a law, it is a traffic regulation. Thus why the outcome is a fine and not a criminal trial.

Seems that you are ignorant, thus undermining orderly society. Time to march you off to be executed for being so insignificant.

Re:Looks ok to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47486025)

It isn't a law, it is a traffic regulation.

Regulation
Definition: a rule or directive made and maintained by an authority
Synonyms: rule, ruling, order, directive, act, law, bylaw, statute, edict, canon, pronouncement, dictate, dictum, decree, fiat, command, precept

Re:Looks ok to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47486197)

It isn't a law, it is a traffic regulation.

Regulation
Definition: a rule or directive made and maintained by an authority
Synonyms: rule, ruling, order, directive, act, law, bylaw, statute, edict, canon, pronouncement, dictate, dictum, decree, fiat, command, precept

Synonym
Definition: a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language

Re:Looks ok to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47486355)

Synonym
Definition: a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language

Law
Definition: the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties.

Fact: Traffic regulations are laws.

Re:Looks ok to me (0)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 2 months ago | (#47486031)

Laws are always moral and just, and order is always good.

Re:Looks ok to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47486161)

You might want to re-think that stance - Not because I particularly value human life, but because it negates your own point. A rolling-right-on-red doesn't threaten to undermine the order of society.

Yes it does. Any toleration of law breaking undermines the order of society.

If that were true, we would not need Grand Juries to determine if prosecution is in the best interest in society. Nor would there be such things as leniency, clemency, pardons, or jury nullification.

Re:Looks ok to me (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 months ago | (#47486223)

Wrong. Most of the justice system is designed to scare people away from breaking the law by showing off the might of the government (aka make an example of them). Yes, putting people in jail is an economic strain in many ways, but society is designed around needing X number of "examples". It does not particularly matter if "them" are innocent or guilty.

Sociopathic trolls (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 months ago | (#47485805)

Innocent people getting executed is perfectly acceptable to me as long as the error rates are low.

Then you are a pathetic cowardly inhumane sociopath who I pray never is put on a jury. I don't care if you support the death penalty or not but the notion that it is ever acceptable to execute an innocent person is just reprehensible. Of course for someone who talks so tough you apparently can't be bothered to post under your own name.

Re:Sociopathic trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485849)

Of course for someone who talks so tough you apparently can't be bothered to post under your own name.

Is that so, "sjbe"?

Granted, the grandparent AC is an idiot, at best. But his anonymity is not relevant to that, nor would you have much of a leg to stand on regarding that critique even if it were.

Re:Looks ok to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485807)

If, however, it tickets even one law-abiding driver, then it very much needs an angry mob ripping these damned things down from the poles, throwing them on the front lawn of City Hall, and demanding an end to the outsourcing of "justice" to for-profit companies.

Only because the populous is too stupid to understand numbers. Innocent people getting executed is perfectly acceptable to me as long as the error rates are low. The order of society is far more important than a single insignificant persons life.

That's because you're what is technically and by the numbers called an "asshole".

When people start getting ticketed even though they did the right thing, they figure stuff it I'm going to get ticketed anyway and behave more wrecklessly. It doesn't take many for anecdotes of unfairness to spread.

Some things just can't fail even though you think that failure rate is low as a percentage. 0.05% failure rate on your brakes would be ridiculously high for example. It means that sometime in your driving life your car is very likely to kill you and those around you. It is quite an irony that you complain about a "populous...too stupid to understand numbers". If I'm being too vague let me clarify - I'm suggesting you're the one too stupid to understand them.

Re:Looks ok to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485901)

0.05% failure rate on your brakes would be ridiculously high for example. It means that sometime in your driving life your car is very likely to kill you and those around you.

Your statement is 100% wrong. I would suggest you learn what probabilities mean but society will be far better off once you kill yourself.

First of all I guarantee you that brakes on your car will fail far sooner than that. Brake pads are only good for a 30,000 to 70,000 miles. So if you drive for 100,000 miles, your brakes will fail 100% if you don't change them.

If that was a defect rate for brakes in all cars manufactured. A 0.05% is excellent. It means you have a 99.95% chance of buying a car without the brakes failing.

Re:Looks ok to me (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 months ago | (#47485981)

Well, since you're an A/C, you must not be significant... Let's start with you.

Re:Looks ok to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47486011)

The synonym PRMan is completely anonymous too.

Re:Looks ok to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485995)

You go first.

Re:Looks ok to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47486057)

You clearly have a reading comprehension problem. If I'm accused of a crime worthy of the death penalty and convicted in error by a jury of my peers it's still better for society as a whole. It sucks for me but an individual is insignificant to the greater whole.

The needs of the many out way the needs of the one.

Re:Looks ok to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47486087)

Slashdot has fallen pretty far when this sort of blatantly obvious trolling is taken seriously by such a high number of individuals.

Re:Looks ok to me (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 2 months ago | (#47486285)

The needs of the many out way the needs of the one.

What does god need with a starship?

Re:Looks ok to me (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 2 months ago | (#47486091)

Innocent people getting executed is perfectly acceptable to me as long as the error rates are low.

So, it's acceptable to you if you are amongst the innocent people who are executed?

Re:Looks ok to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47486289)

So, it's acceptable to you if you are amongst the innocent people who are executed?

Yes

Because I know the error rates are so low that it will probably never affect me. And if it does, we'll some times life sucks but society is still better off.

Re:Looks ok to me (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485783)

I doesn't matter if it is a .025% false ticket rate or a 95% false ticket rate. The article is pointing out that there are short-lived undocumented changes in camera behavior indicating either a faulty system as a whole or a direct manipulation of the equipment. Both of these are worthy of investigation, no where in the article (it is possible that I missed it) does it suggest that the system itself is failing and should be thrown away. Merely that it looks to either have a fault or is being abused by authorities.

Personally, I align with the later option.

But by all means continue to completely ignore the article.

Re:Looks ok to me (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 months ago | (#47486189)

I do not think you understand how the justice system works, even if sentenced .025% of innocent people to death it would be doing far better than current efforts.

Re:Looks ok to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485651)

Only if it's random.

Re:Looks ok to me (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 2 months ago | (#47485767)

It's unacceptable even if it is random. Mass surveillance is never okay.

Re:Looks ok to me (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 2 months ago | (#47485881)

Mass surveillance is never okay.

And that's why flight voice recorders on aircraft should be illegal, right?

Re:Looks ok to me (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 2 months ago | (#47486049)

Is that really the same as mass government surveillance of public places, or the NSA-style surveillance, where people are spied on en masse? I think not.

Re:Looks ok to me (1)

WizADSL (839896) | about 2 months ago | (#47486077)

That's not mass surveillance, it only records the flight crew and it records on a loop so only the last 30 minutes or so are available at any given time. It also serves a very important purpose in case something happens to the plane.

Re:Looks ok to me (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 months ago | (#47486117)

Monitoring the three people in the cockpit of a plane carrying 300 people is hardly "mass surveillance".

There should be no false positives (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 months ago | (#47485769)

1,000 out of 4,000,000 tickets makes a 0.025% error rate. That's a perfectly acceptable margin of error.

Bullshit. That's a HORRIBLE error rate. Remember that whole "innocent until proven guilty" part of the Constitution? If they are going to be used at all these things have to be tuned to have a false positive error rate of close to zero. If that means a higher false negative rate (people who ran the light but didn't get a ticket) then so be it. That's the way it is supposed to work in our justice system. If that means foregoing some traffic penalty revenue then so be it. Better that a hundred people get off without penalty than one person be falsely convicted.

Re:There should be no false positives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485797)

Actually, these things should be banned outright regardless of the error rate, simply because mass government surveillance of public places should not be tolerated, whether or not they're 'just' giving out tickets. Furthermore, I have a problem with police giving out tickets, as well. *Everything* should be done in front of a judge, and no automatic punishments should be issued. They won't like that, and subsequently, they'll stop trying to harass people for minor issues as often.

Re:There should be no false positives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485827)

Bullshit. That's a HORRIBLE error rate. Remember that whole "innocent until proven guilty" part of the Constitution?

No you are innocent until a court rules you are guilty. The occasional error in the court system is perfectly acceptable to an orderly society.

Re:There should be no false positives (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 2 months ago | (#47486055)

No you are innocent until a court rules you are guilty.

There are no courts in this situation.

Re:There should be no false positives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47486113)

There are no courts in this situation.

WRONG

You can challenge any traffic violation in the courts. People just choose to wave their rights and just pay the fine because they broke the law and they know it.

Re:There should be no false positives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47486143)

People just choose to wave their rights and just pay the fine because they broke the law and they know it.

Or because they don't have the resources to fight an undeserved fine.

Re:There should be no false positives (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 2 months ago | (#47486235)

You can challenge any traffic violation in the courts.

Except for the fact that it's not automatic like it would be otherwise. Your punishment can be determined before anyone *ever* goes to see a judge.

People just choose to wave their rights and just pay the fine because they broke the law and they know it.

Bullshit. It's often because it's too costly/takes too much time and people have no confidence in the system. More importantly, why do you, someone who presumably lives in 'the land of the free'--a place where it is considered a good thing to distrust authority, and a place where the constitution is intended to place severe limitations upon the government--have absolute faith in authority? Hundreds of millions of people were abused and/or killed throughout history by your beloved authority figures, so to assume people are guilty is just plain ignorant.

Never acceptable (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 months ago | (#47486097)

The occasional error in the court system is perfectly acceptable to an orderly society.

It may be inevitable but it is NEVER acceptable. Only a sociopath would think otherwise.

Re:Never acceptable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47486305)

Only an idiot would think it's better to a 0% error rate in the courts since the only way you can have that is never to convict anyone of any crime ever.

Re:There should be no false positives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485829)

Remember that whole "innocent until proven guilty" part of the Constitution?

Yeah, if you look, you'll find that phrase is not found in the US Constitution.

In fact, I couldn't even find the words "innocent" or "guilty" in it.

It's merely an inference (by the courts) that it exists as part of US jurisprudence.

Now if you're talking Canada, or Russia, or some state Constitution, you might be correct, but I didn't find it in Illinois's Constitution either.

Innocent until proven guilty (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 months ago | (#47486085)

Yeah, if you look, you'll find that phrase is not found in the US Constitution.

No those exact words are not there but I refer you to the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eight amendments, particularly the Fifth. Innocent until proven guilty is the shortened version of what they collectively say.

It's merely an inference (by the courts) that it exists as part of US jurisprudence.

It is nothing of the sort. Explain to me how "nor shall any person... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" be anything other than different phrasing of innocent until proven guilty. (That's from the Fifth Amendment BTW)

Re:There should be no false positives (0)

pkinetics (549289) | about 2 months ago | (#47485957)

Its Chicago. The Constitution is a living document open to interpretation. And the Chicago way trumps everything, even the basic human rights defined eons ago by whatever non-corporeal entity people believe in.

Wow! A real mystery! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485565)

This is clearly a case for Unsolved Mysteries and ranks right up there with Yetis and UFOs.

Missing records? In Chicago? (0)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 months ago | (#47485643)

They should just say that they'd all been emailed, and that the emails somehow were mysteriously lost. And all the backups.

I happen to know the President himself will vouch for that one.

Violation Video? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485707)

The article does not mention anything about the video of the violation which can be used to verify proper operation of the equipment. The video shows the intersection, your car and the intersection lights -- very hard to dispute. Perhaps the peaks were caused by the camera lens being cleaned?

Seems to me like the investigative reporter is riding a wave of public sentiment instead of thorough journalism.

Re:Violation Video? (1)

itsenrique (846636) | about 2 months ago | (#47485787)

"Then, over a 12-day spike, it spewed 563 tickets — 560 of them for rolling rights" That is pretty much the issue. See, before these stupid cameras people came to a very very slow speed, looked and executed a turn all at once. If there is enough visibility at the intersection you would make a right. Police could technically ticket you for it but I have never heard of one in my life of driving / motorcycle riding. In fact I still regularly do this in front of police at areas that have no camera. There are often issues of technicality here too, like, you need to stop before the white line but you stopped after. The cameras are very questionable from a safety standpoint because now people don't know how to behave when coming to a stop. It has been documented that these cameras cause more rear end collisions because of this fact. In this case in particular the fact that the journalist uncovered seems to be selective enforcement. In other words, there have been cameras for years. We always still did a rolling stop on red, no one ever got a ticket. Now one day same cameras, same signs, but different enforcement.

Re:Violation Video? (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 2 months ago | (#47485917)

It has been documented that these cameras cause more rear end collisions because of this fact.

That's because of people speeding. The faster you drive, the less time you have to react to the light changing or the driver in front of you stopping. In fact, the time you are given to react can even be negative if you drive too fast.

Therefore, if safety is the goal (big if), red light cameras should also be speed cameras. Without people speeding as they approach traffic lights, there will be far fewer rear end collisions and far fewer red light infractions.

Re:Violation Video? (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 2 months ago | (#47486081)

That's because of people speeding. The faster you drive, the less time you have to react to the light changing or the driver in front of you stopping. In fact, the time you are given to react can even be negative if you drive too fast.

Failure to maintain proper following distance causes rear end collisions.

Without people speeding as they approach traffic lights, there will be far fewer rear end collisions and far fewer red light infractions.

I'm the Easter bunny.

http://www.motorists.org/red-l... [motorists.org]

Re:Violation Video? (1)

Jabrwock (985861) | about 2 months ago | (#47486103)

The cameras are very questionable from a safety standpoint because now people don't know how to behave when coming to a stop.

The problem is not that people don't know how to behave, it's that they've been doing it wrong since the day they passed their driver's test and stopped caring, and now cameras are catching them in the act. I'm all for including a copy of the page in the driver's manual that states what you are SUPPOSED to do in this scenario.

When you get to a red light... stop. It's not a yield sign, it's a red light. Stop, then turn right if it's safe. There is no county in the US where a rolling turn is acceptable, it's just the the cops don't bother ticketing over such a minor infraction. Doesn't make it legal though...

comment (-1, Offtopic)

totyakokeya (3754297) | about 2 months ago | (#47485721)

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They do things you won't see on Broadway.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485845)

Is there anything not corrupt about Chicago by this point? From crooked politicians like Obummer, allowing Asian carp into the Great Lakes, to bogus tickets.... Good god no wonder the rest of the world holds the USA in contempt with cities like that for examples...

The way I fought my ticket... (4, Interesting)

mi (197448) | about 2 months ago | (#47485871)

By appealing and not agreeing to "settle" with the prosecution — in fact, I did not even want to "talk to them" other than during a hearing and in judge's presence. This made it necessary for the actual officer, who (supposedly) reviewed the ticket before it was issued, to appear in court — which he didn't do. Maybe, I was just "lucky" at that and, maybe, Chicago would've allowed the prosecution to avoid presenting the officer for testimony, but...

The automatic cameras allow for issuing a massive number of tickets — because human police don't need to do much work. If more people appealed — thus necessitating the human policemen's presence in court for each such ticket, maybe, they wouldn't be such a valuable proposition for the local authorities.

State sponsors of corruption (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 2 months ago | (#47485893)

Nobody is fooled by the name "red light camera" . The entire point of these things have always been generation of revenue by ticketing people for rolling right turns. They serve no credible public safety interest of any kind.

Re:State sponsors of corruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485975)

Maybe to teach people to follow the law... I know, I know, laws are just there to punish your enemies right?

“Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.”

  Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Re:State sponsors of corruption (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 2 months ago | (#47486241)

A 10 second warning counter has been shown to be more effective. But those cost money and don't generate money.

Still, red light cameras do serve a safety purpose. While increasing the number of accidents, they do decrease the fatality of accidents. Translating 40mph tbone collisions into 20mph rear end collisions.

It's not about "the law" or enforcement. (1)

Chas (5144) | about 2 months ago | (#47485897)

As always with these cameras. It's NOT about the law, what's legal, or enforcing the law.

It's about making a profit. A revenue stream. I'd say "first and foremost", but that implies there's another reason. And there just isn't. It's about extracting ever more money from the citizens through any means necessary. Even though Chicago's signing away 90% OF THE TICKET REVENUES TO THE CAMERA COMPANY!

And the cameras aren't set up "everywhere" to give uniform coverage.

They're set up in areas and in such a way as to maximize the APPEARANCE of a violation from the camera's perspective.

Basically these sorts of camera deals need to be illegal.

If the city isn't going to buy the systems outright and administer/enforce them itself, they shouldn't be allowed to go through a third party company who has a profit motive involved in what is otherwise a law enforcement issue. It's a total conflict of interests.

Re:It's not about "the law" or enforcement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47486171)

A simple law banning the receipt of fines by the organization issuing citations would stop these shenanigans right away. Just take that money, send it to the Fed and burn it. See who likes issuing fraudulent fines under those conditions.

Low flying superheros (0)

sdack (601542) | about 2 months ago | (#47485909)

It is time to accept that it has superheros among us and we need to welcome them with open arms, and stop accussing one another of having made mistakes. Show yourselves!

New business model! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485913)

1. Get local government to outsource red light camera operations to you.
2. Set up contract including "per use" license.
3. Provide "maintenance" to red light camera 30 days before quarter end.
4. Profit!!

mod 0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47485963)

BeenU looking f

Movie Review (4, Informative)

Hulfs (588819) | about 2 months ago | (#47486297)

As much as I don't like these cameras, when you get a ticket in Chicago, and most of the suburbs I know of around here, you're provided w/ the means to actually watch your car commit the violation. I got a ticket for a rolling right turn on red last summer. You key your license and the citation number into a city website (google it, you'll find it) and you can watch an mpeg4 stream of your car passing through the intersection or turning on red or whatever - with a little curl magic you can download it as a keepsake.

Armed with the video, you should be able to appeal the ticket if you truly didn't commit the offense or if the camera went bonkers and ticketed everyone going through the intersection.

If it's a borderline case, most people don't bother with the hassle of appealing and just pay the fine...miss a day of work and sit in a traffic court for hours (and possibly pay court costs) or pay $100.

My observation around the Chicago area is that people are mostly just butthurt because they're getting ticketed for infractions that were lightly enforced before due to labor / manhour constraints of the police forces.

Duh it's chicago. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 months ago | (#47486337)

The city is filled with dirty crooks in office, always has been. Chicago is the place where not only does the dead vote, but they vote TWICE!

What days (1)

Electrawn (321224) | about 2 months ago | (#47486339)

The article doesn't list the days in question.

There are certain days in the winter where there are icy conditions and cars slide through lights or rolling right turns for safety reasons. Of course, the cameras don't care.

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