Chicago might soon be required to pay millions of dollars back to its drivers due to a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit stems from the issuance of tens (perhaps even hundreds) of thousands of traffic tickets to Chicago motorists on non-school days.
The lawsuit argues that City Hall is ignoring a state statute, which was put into place by the Illinois General Assembly before speed cameras were placed around parks and schools in the city. According to the Chicago Sun Times, the statute reads, “Violations shall be recorded, only on school days.”
The city’s first camera was installed at a school in November 2013. Now, there are more than 130 speed cameras and 51 safety zones near schools. These speed zones are intended to make the roadways more safe for children on foot.
In 2006, more than 60,000 pedestrians sustained injuries as a result of a traffic accident, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The problem is that the city has still been ticketing drivers when school is not in session.
The city issued more than 34,000 tickets during July and August 2014 alone, and continued to issue tickets through Thanksgiving break. Though the violations have not yet been posted on the city’s website, it is expected that drivers were also wrongfully ticketed during Christmas break.
“The city had no power under the state constitution to be enforcing those speed cameras during the times they were,” attorney Jacie Zolna told the Chicago Sun Times. “We’re asking the city to void all of those illegal tickets and warnings and refund the money.”
The lawsuit has not yet been granted class-action status, and the mayor’s administration is looking to get the case thrown out; however, this isn’t the first case in which millions of dollars in tickets have been forgiven to drivers — for exactly the same reason.
Faulty cameras in Nassau County ticketed drivers on days that school was not in session and subsequently forgave more than $2.4 million in August 2014. According to NBC 4 New York, the camera system has since been dismantled.