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Chicago Agrees To Make Red Light Camera System Barely Less Corrupt By Increasing Grace Period By 0.2 Seconds
It's been well-established at this point that red light cameras, those devices that issue tickets and blinding lights to drivers not stopping on red, have always been less about safety and more about the revenue produced by the tickets. That really should be enough a story of corruption for anyone to cast a wary eye at cities implementing these cameras, but you really have to admire the brazen committment to corruption the city of Chicago displayed when initially contracting with the company Redflex for its camera system. The CEO for Redflex was brought up on federal charges for bribing city officials, including offering some condos and cars, because why mess around? Yet, even once we move past the corrupt manner the cameras were put in place, Chicago saw tons of its tickets tossed by a judge who noted that the city wasn't even following its own rules for due process on those tickets. Furthermore, the cameras were set to have a "grace period," the buffer time for which a driver could run a red light and still not be ticketed, of .1 seconds, even as other major cities' grace periods were three times that, and it was laughably clear how this system was designed entirely to bring in city revenue.
Well, rejoice Chicagoans, because the city has been dragged into extending that grace period to the .3 seconds shared by other major cities, making the whole thing barely less nauseating.
Under the new policy, which was announced Monday, the grace period for Chicago’s red lights will move from 0.1 seconds to 0.3 seconds. This will bring the Windy City in line with other Americans metropolises, including New York City and Philadelphia. In a statement, the city agency said that this increase would “maintain the safety benefits of the program while ensuring the program’s fairness.”
Except it really doesn't. This is the same system, no longer operated by Redflex due to the company's corrupt practices, but still born of that same corruption and forever tainted by it. Unaddressed thus far are the city's failings in due process, nevermind any valid analysis showing a safety benefit to any of this. Instead, the city has basically agreed to collect slightly less revenue in its traffic camera revenue program. This, by the way, is the city with the largest red light camera program in the nation. So... yay?
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