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Audit Upholds Majority Of Red-Light Camera Tickets

By Chuck Sudo in News on Oct 2, 2014 9:55PM

Photo credit: Joseph R. Palmer
An independent audit of nearly 16,000 red-light camera tickets determined that a majority of them were correctly issued. Ninety-six percent of the tickets were deemed to be properly issued, to be precise.

That independent audit certainly worked out well for the city.

The audit by Grant Thornton LP was ordered after the Tribune reported in July about spikes in ticketing at specific cameras across the network. Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld ordered the review of the tickets as a way of reassuring the motorists’ confidence in the scandal-plagued camera network. Of 15,885 red-light camera tickets issued, the audit found only 126 were invalid. Those motorists who were ticketed will receive refunds from the city.

So it looks as though, if you do contest a red-light ticket, your best bet is to attend an administrative hearing with some evidence. Administrative judge Robert A. Sussman said in August he’s tossed anywhere between 60 and 70 percent of the red-light camera tickets contested before him. The city says it uses state and federal guidelines for yellow lights, where they display for a minimum of three seconds at intersections. Sussman said he’s seen evidence that yellow light display times at intersections with red-light cameras are shorter.

CDOT spokesman Peter Scales told the Sun-Times the validation rate was in line with the city’s expectations.

“The onus was squarely on the city and the benefit of the doubt was given to the motorist…The system has to be right…If the evidence did not clearly demonstrate the validity of the violations, the ticket will be vacated and a refund issued.”