What You Should Know About a Chicago Red Light Ticket

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A red-light ticket in Chicago, Illinois can be a costly and stressful experience. If you’ve received one recently, or want to avoid getting one in the future, it’s important to understand the laws and regulations surrounding them and red-light cameras.

How much is a red-light ticket in the City of Chicago?

Chicago imposes hefty fines for red light violations. In cases where a driver runs a red light the fine is $100.

Fines for speeding can vary a bit. For exceeding the speed limit by 6-10 MPH, the penalty is $35. If your vehicle’s recorded speed exceeds the limit by 11 MPH or more, the fine increases to $100.

Failing to pay these fines on time will result in a late payment fee which will double the amount.

Can red light camera footage help me prove fault in a car accident?

If you’re injured in an accident and you think a red light camera may have caught the other driver committing a traffic violation, it is possible the footage may help your case. An experienced Chicago car accident lawyer from The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers can assess your case to find evidence, like video footage or images from red light cameras, to support your claim and maximize the value of your case.

Red Light Cameras in Chicago

The city of Chicago began its red-light camera program back in 2003. At the start, the program was in effect at only two intersections in Chicago: Peterson and Western; and 55th and Western. Over the years, the program saw a gradual increase in the number of intersections and the implementation of automated enforcement measures.

From its humble beginnings as an experimental program, a remarkable network of hundreds of cameras now diligently watches over a huge number of intersections throughout Chicago.

Below are helpful answers to frequently asked questions regarding red light traffic cameras and red-light tickets in Chicago.

Are there still red-light traffic cameras in the city of Chicago?

Yes, there are still red-light traffic cameras in operation throughout the city of Chicago. In fact, the program has expanded significantly since its inception and continues to be a major source of revenue for the city. The truth is cameras in red lights won’t be going anywhere in the foreseeable future.

Where are the red lights in Chicago?

Although it may not be reasonable to create a driving route specifically to avoid red light cameras, it can still be beneficial to have some awareness of traffic lights with cameras and other traffic data cameras.

The Chicago Department of Transportation has published the Chicago Traffic Tracker, an invaluable resource for locating traffic data cameras. This website provides real-time traffic updates, speed camera locations, pedestrian counts, and congestion information for various travel areas. It’s a comprehensive tool that offers convenience and valuable insights for navigating the city’s busy streets.

Red light camera intersections are always marked with signage. Keep an eye out for the signs that indicate if it’s “photo enforced” or not.

Am I able to view red light camera footage?

Yes. If you suspect that you have been issued a red light or speed violation in Illinois but can’t wait for a ticket to arrive in the mail, you have the option to conveniently check for the violation online. This website offers a range of convenient features. You can easily search for parking tickets, browse through photos, watch videos of speed or red-light violations, and even contest a ticket if needed.

How long does the red-light camera video stay available?

The 24-hour stream capturing the red-light intersection is accessible for a period of 30 days. Footage of alleged violations caught on the red-light camera is available for viewing for up to two years. It’s important to note that there is a limited timeframe for disputing a ticket.

Can you ignore a red-light traffic camera ticket in Chicago?

No, attempting to evade payment will only bring harm upon yourself. The fines will be doubled if they are not paid within a specified timeframe. That timeframe will be specified on the ticket you will eventually receive in the mail.

In the event that tickets are left unpaid, the city of Chicago reserves the right to take action by placing a yellow boot to your vehicle or, in more severe cases, towing it away entirely.

Unpaid tickets can lead to escalating sanctions, including the suspension of your driver’s license by the Illinois Secretary of State. If you are pulled over or get into an accident, having an invalid license may lead to additional tickets being issued.

Can I dispute a red-light ticket in Chicago?

It is possible to request an in-person hearing by phone to dispute a red-light ticket, though it’s important to note that there aren’t many qualifying defenses. Call the City of Chicago’s Ticket Helpline at 312-744-7275  or 312-744-7277 (TTY – Hearing Impaired).

How long do you have to pay a red-light ticket in Chicago?

According to the city of Chicago, you have twenty-one (21) days to pay the ticket OR contest it otherwise the fine will double. Once you’ve received the ticket in the mail, it’s important to immediately take note of the payment due date. Otherwise, you risk having to pay more than the initial fine amount.

How long does it take to receive a red-light ticket in Illinois?

Did you catch a glimpse of a flash as you approached an intersection? Concerned that a red-light camera might have triggered and captured your front or rear license plate number? A ticket, along with a notice, will be sent to the address registered to the vehicle’s owner within five to seven business days.

But, again, if you can’t wait for the ticket to arrive in the mail, you can always check for the violation online.

What happens if the light turns yellow or red when I am still in the intersection?

Chicago Red Light Camera Infographic

Yellow lights in Chicago have intervals of three seconds when the speed limit is 30 miles per hour or lower, and four seconds when it is 35 miles per hour or higher. This ensures smooth traffic flow and adherence to safety regulations. The city of Chicago believes that this provides ample time to stop at an intersection.

If you find yourself already in the intersection when the light turns yellow, you should have ample time to safely clear it.

The city of Chicago does not believe that extending the duration of yellow lights will effectively prevent incorrect red-light tickets. Their rationale is that drivers might perceive the extended yellow traffic light as a continuation of the green traffic signal period.

It is worth mentioning that the three-second timing has been in place for several decades. There were no modifications made to the traffic signal timings either before or after the installation of red-light cameras.

Will I get a red-light ticket if I do a rolling stop?

Yes. If you roll through a stop where a red light camera is in operation, you could get a ticket.

To avoid receiving a ticket for making a right turn on red, ensure that you come to a full stop before proceeding.

Do red light camera tickets go on your record in Illinois?

No, they don’t.

In Illinois, a red light camera ticket does not go on your driving record since red light camera violations are not classified as moving violations. Therefore, tickets from red lights do not have any impact on your driving history.

Likewise, a red light violation ticket won’t impact your insurance rates. Red light camera tickets are akin to parking tickets in this aspect.

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