CHICAGO – A request by the city of Chicago to toss a lawsuit challenging the fairness and constitutionality of its controversial red light camera program was denied by a Cook County judge.
The lawsuit alleges the city has issued more than $500 million in tickets under a program that wasn’t properly authorized by state lawmakers, the Chicago Tribune reported. It also accuses the city of issuing millions of tickets when yellow light times were too short at intersections equipped with red light cameras.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration, which argues the city has acted lawfully, asked Circuit Judge Rita Novak to dismiss the most recent in a series of similar lawsuits.
But Novak ruled on Thursday that the motorists who have been ticketed deserve their day in court. Although she said she understands the city’s concerns about being “subject to the same claims over and over,” Novak denied the request because the plaintiffs named in this case are new.
That’s the backstory. Here’s the money quote from the article:
On Thursday, Keating argued in court that the yellow light times of “up to half of all red light camera tickets issued . were in fact below three seconds,” as a result of the way traffic lights are set. The city has argued that it’s not legally bound to the 3-second minimum listed in federal guidelines.
Install a red light camera at an intersection. Shorten the yellow light times so that more motorists find themselves hitting red lights. Ignore the fact that these shortened yellow light times are below the Federal guidelines, which say yellow light times should be about one second for each mile per hour, divided by ten. Rake in the cash from motorists. I guess that’s how it works in Chicago.