Chicago's dirty trick to increase red-light camera fines




Some guy in Los Angeles thoroughly documented that these cameras don’t make us safer. Then LA removed them.

Chicago needs someone to step up to the plate and push for this too.


Ahem, the yellow light timing was not changed at all. As is clear in the article. What changed is the leniency policy. C’mon Boing Boing, reading comprehension is a valuable skill to cultivate.


I don’t run amber lights, I’ll stop if it’s safely possible. Quite often someone in the lane alongside (even further back) will go through. Or, if I am right at a junction as it turns amber, one or two cars will follow me through.

On the other hand, I go straight away when lights go green, where most people seem to wait for ages before moving off.

It seems that US drivers treat traffic lights fundamentally differently to me.


The problem is that whatever the crime the legal system starts with an assumption of good faith on the part of public institutions “working for the good of the people” and apparently considers improperly collected fines like this as contributions to the state or the people as a whole. Until there sanctions greater than court orders to simply cease and desist objectionable behavior there is a standing inducement to see how far the state can creep before being reigned in without punishment by the courts. Individuals who cause government to break the law need to have greater risk to break the moral hazard created by hiding behind the corporate veil of government.


Chicago’s short yellow lights resulted in more than 77,000 tickets and generated nearly 8M for the city.

This is an amazingly unclear sentence.

Is it stating that 77,000 tickets were generated purely by that 0.1 second difference? Or that 77,000 tickets were generated total, and some unknown percentage of that amount were caused by the 0.1 second difference?


Driving is too cheap in the US.
I support most any means - dirty trick or not - to make it more expensive.

Just raise the goddam gas tax for chrissake.

(full disclosure: I do not own a car and am a full-time bicycle commuter)


So you’re the other one who understands that amber means stop if it’s safe. I think the stop light cams (calling them red light cams is misleading that amber doesn’t mean stop) can be effective tools if they are administered fairly and the supplier is not given a cut of the fines.


Yea, I almost lost my life to one, when the lady in front of me slammed on her brakes at 50mph. She didn’t want a ticket, you see.


When criminal fines fund the government, the government has incentive to create criminals.


Have you gotten a ticket yet for running a red light on a bike? They do that too.


I have a bit of a problem with people going as soon as the light turns green. Because that’s often the only time that the crossing light is white. And so we have to deal with people driving through at the same time we’re crossing, or we have to wait. I remember someone earlier complaining when I said I often crossed when the light was flashing, but if we wait for people to stop driving through, we often have to wait until the light is flashing. Also with people looking looking one way, for traffic approaching them, while turning another.


Well, turning is a different matter.

I have a real problem with the way many lights are set up in Seattle - there is often no period where the pedestrian crossing lights and traffic green lights aren’t aligned. Which is dangerous for pedestrians and at many busy junctions makes it impossible to turn except as the lights are turning red, or between pedestrians (and often when turning left it’s totally impossible - and some of those junctions also have traffic light cameras on them, so you’re SOL). They need more turning filters, which would allow for times specifically reserved for pedestrians.


Congratulations. You win BB for the day due to your eloquently expressed moral superiority.


yes i have, and i paid it, and i didn’t complain.


We have stoplights for the sake of public safety. Making it harder for people to stop in time, that diminishes public safety. It also erodes the legitimacy of the government that uses it to pay for other public benefits.


Chicago’s yellow lights are 3 seconds long, which is the Federal Department of Transportation recommend value for all streets with at 30 mph speed limit. Nearly all Chicago streets are 30 mph. Older Chicago lights are synchronous clocks that use the electric grid for time keeping. When compared to a quarts clock, they may be very slightly fast. More like 1/60th of a second then 1/10th. Those tickets where thrown out.


Some guy in Los Angeles huh. Sounds legit. Some guy in Milwaukee documented he was full of shit.


Yellow means go!!!


Yeah, me too, when some speeding, tailgating jackass rear ended me when I stopped for a yellow light. If you are going too fast too stop then you are going too fast.