There is one thing that nearly all Chicagoans can agree on, and that is their disdain and utter loathing of red light cameras and automated traffic enforcement. Unfortunately, these cameras seem to be everywhere in the city of Chicago, their ever-watchful eye just waiting to snap a picture of your license plate to capture an alleged violation.
This city began its red light camera program in 2003. Surprisingly, this program was in effect at only two intersections: Peterson and Western; and 55th and Western. As the years went by, more intersections and more automated enforcement was added to the program.
What started as a modest experimental program has now fully blossomed into an impressive network of hundreds of cameras monitoring hundreds of intersections all around the city of Chicago.
Below are helpful answers to FAQs about red light traffic cameras in Chicago:
You may have heard on social media that there was a Constitutional concern regarding red light cameras and that they are going to be removed.
Without touching on the validity or constitutionality of these cameras or automated enforcement of traffic violations, the reality is that they will not be going anywhere for the foreseeable future.
No. You can try to dodge payment but by doing so, you are only hurting yourself. The fines will double if they are not paid in a certain amount of time (The ticket in the mail will include these deadlines).
Unfortunately, if tickets remain unpaid, the city of Chicago may take action against you by placing a familiar yellow boot on your vehicle, or towing it altogether.
The sanctions may continue to escalate as the Illinois Secretary of State can suspend your driver’s license for unpaid tickets. This may result in further tickets if you are pulled over or are in accident as your license will not be valid.
July 2022 Update: Red light tickets in Chicago carry a hefty set of fines. If you are caught traveling 6-10 MPH over the speed limit, the fine is $35. The fine is $100 if the recorded speed of your vehicle is 11 or more MPH over the speed limit.
On June, 22, 2022, a move to ease the rules on when a speed camera ticket is issued to drivers traveling 6-10 MPH over the speed limit was delayed in the Chicago City Council. On July 20, 2022, city alderman rejected this proposal and the ticket minimum will remain at 6 MPH.
Generally, you have twenty five (25) days to pay the ticket OR contest it otherwise the fine will double.
Chicago’s yellow lights are are set to three second intervals when the speed limit is 30 miles per hour or lower, and to four seconds when it is 35 miles per hour or higher. Chicago believes that if you are approaching the intersection, you have ample time to stop.
If you are already in the intersection when the light turns yellow, you should have enough time to clear the intersection.
The city of Chicago does not think extending yellows will prevent incorrect red light tickets. It believes drivers would treat the extended yellow as an extension of a green light.
Yes. Even if there are no cars coming, or otherwise would have the right of way, Chicago’s position is that a red light violation is a violation regardless of direction of travel of the vehicle.
To avoid getting a ticket for turning right on red, make sure you come to a complete stop, then proceed.
Think you saw a flash as you creeped up to an intersection? Worried that a red light camera may have gone off and captured your license plate number? A ticket along with a notice should arrive to the vehicle’s registered owner’s address within five to seven business days.
If you think you received a red light or speed violation in Illinois but cannot wait to see if you got a ticket in the mail, you can check for the violation online. This website allows you to search for parking tickets, view photos, view speed or red light video, and even contest a ticket.
Footage of the constant stream of the red light intersection is available for 30 days. Alleged violations caught on the red light camera are available for viewing up to two years. However, keep in mind that you only have a set amount of time to contest a ticket.
While it is not practical to design a route to avoid red light cameras, it might be helpful to see where they are at.
The Chicago Department of Transportation published a Chicago Traffic Tracker that allows you to see where the cameras are located. The website also features other helpful and handy information like real time traffic information, speed cameras, pedestrian counts, and what areas of travel are congested.
There will always be signage posted at red light camera intersections. Look for the signs that give you notice and see whether or not it is “photo enforced.”
No, they do not.
Red light camera tickets do not go on your record in Illinois because they are not considered moving violations so they do not go on your driving record.
Similarly, they will not affect your insurance rates. Tickets from red light cameras are similar to parking tickets in this regard.
If you have questions about contesting a red light violation or were injured by a vehicle that disregarded traffic laws, do not hesitate to reach out to the experienced Chicago car accident lawyers at The Kryder Law Group.
The facts that are specific and unique to your situation will determine whether you are entitled to compensation under the law and whether you can recover monetary damages. It is important to contact our office soon because under Illinois law, there is a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit against the negligent person.
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