Gotcha: Chicago Generates Millions In New Tickets By Shortening The Time Of Yellow Lights

220px-Modern_British_LED_Traffic_LightHaving just been in Chicago, one of the most prevalent subject of conversation (despite the football season of course) is the ever-rising number of tickets being given to drivers. The Daley administration first made Chicago the most expensive parking city in the country with a corrupt deal that bordered on the criminal. The city was also accused of corrupt dealings with the company handling red-light ticking. However, none of this has curtailed the city contractors and officials clipping motorists for revenue in the form of endless ticketing. The latest outrage was the city reducing the time of yellow lights — a small tweak of a second that resulted in nearly $8 million in new tickets. Drivers are being treated as sources for revenue and hit with the equivalent of speed traps and short lights to generate more and more tickets.

Near my mother’s house in Chicago, she constantly warns me of such a trap that suddenly reduces car speed to a crawl. The reason is that it is being treated as a school zone even though there is no school nearby. All of her neighbors have been clipped despite driving less then 40 miles per hour on the main street.

The short yellow lights resulted in thousands of new $100 tickets from red light cameras. These cameras seem to function as a new hidden tax but the cost is not just cash by destroying the driving records of citizens – impacting insurance and, for many, their jobs.

Chicago may have picked up this idea from the Florida Department of Transportation which in 2011 secretly reduced the length of yellow lights and bringing in a windfall. Since most people have a common notion of the length of time, a small tweak can catch them off guard and snare their cars in a red light run.

It would seem logical that all yellow lights should have a uniform standard time to avoid this type of manipulation. At a minimum, Chicagoans have got to rise up against this type of revenue-generated traffic trap. People are struggling in Chicago and they do not need city officials manipulating lights to find new ways to siphon us more of their money (before they have to pay the over-priced meters of course).

Source: Time

207 thoughts on “Gotcha: Chicago Generates Millions In New Tickets By Shortening The Time Of Yellow Lights”

  1. Flat tax, oldfox, flat tax. The poor would have to pay the flat tax. Of course, it depends on how it is structured, but I think the idea is to make sure that the poor have to pay.

    Sales tax is also regressive.

    1. Sales tax is not regressive since the rate remains the same regardless of the price of the item. Some people posit that sales taxes are regressive but they really are not since they are the same for all people regardless. The same with gasoline taxes. However, cigarette taxes could be considered regressive since they target the poor who smoke more than the rich.

      1. If cigarette taxes are paid mostly by the poor, why don’t we eliminate that tax, thus aiding the poor. Because that’s what we’re here for.

  2. Paul – Yea, the 1:55 comment. I thought the words were just not allowed. I find the Shakespearian insults to be quite an entertainment factor here in the comments.

    DBQ – Sorry for continuing off topic, I feel like economics (economic philosophy) is directly tied to freedom. Whenever there is a chance to discuss I jump at it. Traffic light cameras = for revenue = not facilitating peaceful transition and ease of living for citizens (peace officers become LEOs, regardless of the constitutionality [state or US] of a law) = bad policy = effect on their wallets and time, overall happiness and sanity.

    Doc – That is the beauty of freedom and opportunity. We are not chained down to our cities, states, or land. We can sell, switch industry, or even up and up suicide when we’ve had enough! Just don’t do it in NJ as there is a friggin’ death tax. Then the estate tax after that!

    “Real power over something means having the ability to destroy it” – paraphrase of Paul Muad’Dib in Dune.

    The government should facilitate business and transition if so desired- not stifle a business because it follows the logic of self-preservation. Burger King to Canada, eh? The same for individuals.

    I saw something about fairness! Life is not fair and never will be. You could not be born with MY parents! I am wise enough to know I won the lottery with my birth- as most people in the US readily should. Fairness should be in opportunity, not outcome. I can’t practice your guitar for you! You can’t acquire skills without working for them. Some people learn things more easily than others. That’s not fair! Until we have those implants in our head that disrupt our intelligent thoughts so we’re all equally stupid, it never will be.

    Free men are not equal, equal men are not free. Maybe a little dog eared from overuse, but the saying stands true.

    1. Steg, I agree with everything you said. Let us define revenue, fee, charge, etc., a tax. As we were born here, free people, we must continue fighting (voting) to keep our freedoms. They are in jeopardy. I have listened to Professor Turley speak of this president’s ignoring the Constitution. It has to stop.

    2. Steg – having read a lot of Elizabethan and Jacobean plays it didn’t even cross my mind that their would be a problem with it. 😉

  3. Focus on yellow lights?

    We covered that six hours ago.

    It’s a sad day when ‘ruffled feathers’ and ‘delicate flowers’ constitute incivility,

    Somebody thought we were having too much fun.

  4. Considering this past week Doc, I thought we were being rather civil. JT’s right though, time to focus.

    Enjoyed it though, thanks!

  5. You gotta admit it’s a value-added product to sell. 🙂

    You really don’t let that “cultist” thing get to you, do you? I think he only does it because people react to it.

  6. You’re the guy who sells ‘humility’.

    I’m just one of those crazy cultists.

    1. This thread is again becoming increasingly personal. I ask everyone to stop the little personal digs or taunts and discuss the subject or refrain from commenting further.

  7. Paul,

    The Navy is always looking out for us. It hopes to perpetually employ the entire western United States while developing the F-35.

    Glad the state of Arizona is pleased.

    I’m sure no tax bills will be forthcoming.

  8. Did I ruffle your feathers? My apologies! I truly thought you were going to be able to take as much as you dish. Please tell me you’re not one of those delicate flowers people here keep talking about, because that would be extremely disappointing if it were true.

  9. Olly.

    Wait. Let me copy that down!

    (jot. jot. jot,, honor….contract…least….expect…..fulfillment)

    Now I’ve just gotta find the address of some public service unions that have had their pensions reduced.

  10. Doc,
    Is it arrogant to expect the government to honor the contract of service? Wouldn’t you expect honoring that contract to be the least they should do? You seem unfamiliar with the virtue of humility (no surprise there) if you think I should expect even less than the fulfillment of a contract.

    About those yellow lights…..

  11. Olly,

    Happy to pay your pension. Pensions are important to all.

    But about that F-35…

    1. docmadison – that F-35 is going to pay a lot of salaries in Arizona. And it is making some fighter pilots very happy campers.

  12. Uh oh. I sense some some conflict of opinion..

    Olly has bemoaned the lack of the primary virtue, ‘humility’, and how its lack corrupts us all.

    And yet he says:

    “It’s the least we should expect for our commitment to the national defense”

    Is that just a wee bit of arrogance peeking through the veil?

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