Chicago drivers are increasingly subjected to speed limit and red-light cameras that automatically send out millions in fines every year, and if they don’t pay, they can lose their driver’s license.
Meanwhile, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s motorcade reportedly has racked up hundreds of dollars in fines that she has refused to pay — without any consequence at all.
According to a review of public records by CWB Chicago, Lightfoot’s police-driven SUVs have been recorded exceeding the speed limit and going through red lights by the city’s traffic camera system several times in the last year — and none of the fines has been paid.
Several other cars registered to her motorcade also have had fines assessed but never paid, the report said.
CWB Chicago even found that one of the vehicles is now eligible for booting and being impounded because the fines are so far in arrears.
Worst of all, two of the speeding incidents occurred while Lightfoot’s SUVs were driving through school zones while exceeding the speed limit.
The report said none of the $658 in fines accumulated by the mayor’s motorcade since May 2021 has been paid.
But this is not just a recent habit. Her motorcade cars have a long history of breaking traffic laws, getting tickets and fines, and never paying them. It has been so bad that the city has gotten in a habit of just forgiving them because they never get paid anyway, the Chicago Tribune reported in 2020.
The mayor’s office released a statement after this latest news claiming that Lightfoot’s motorcade sometimes breaks the law for the mayor’s “safety.”
“The Mayor’s Detail is responsible for the safety and security of Mayor Lightfoot. Members of the Mayor’s Detail are trained in a variety of safety and security techniques to keep the Mayor safe and that includes both vehicles staying in formation while en route,” the statement said, according to CWB Chicago.
The office said fines are often paid late because the tickets go through an “administrative process to review if City vehicles were in use for safety or security reasons.”
Fines are paid after that process, and the detail’s drivers are responsible to pay them, Lightfoot’s office said.
Of course, even as she refuses to pay her traffic fines, the mayor has fought to make sure her constituents aren’t allowed any breaks from paying theirs.
Recently, for instance, a Chicago alderman tried to push through a rule giving drivers a 10 mph buffer in driving over the limit before tickets are sent in the mail. But Lightfoot fought against that idea because she wants more revenue from tickets.
“The last thing we need is to give people who are breaking the law the license to go faster,” the mayor said last month, according to the Chicago Tribune. “No one likes speed cameras. I get it. But this is life or death that we’re talking about here, and we’ve got to step up as a city and address this.”
Lightfoot also mined the Democrat’s favorite excuse for more rules by claiming it’s “for the children.”
“It makes no sense for us to increase the speed around the parks and schools when we know what the horrific consequences are for pedestrians and other drivers,” Lightfoot said, according to WBBM-TV.
The conservative Illinois Policy Institute reported that since the threshold was lowered to 6 mph last year, Chicago has issued an additional 3.8 million tickets that have brought the city $80 million in revenue. But it’s for the children, don’t you know?
All this is nothing new. Chicago in particular and Illinois in general have had a long, dirty history with red-light cameras. As Chicago Sun-Times columnist Phil Kadner wrote in 2020, “Red-light cameras have been one of the slickest scams ever perpetrated on citizens by their own government.”
The state’s traffic cameras have been rife with corruption, with public scandals, bribery charges and criminal indictments of the red-light camera industry in Illinois that make a mockery of the typical Democratic claim that these cameras are unbiased arbiters of traffic laws.
In 2016, a Chicago official was sent to jail for corruption in the city’s red-light camera program. More recently, Martin Sandoval, who was an Illinois state senator, pleaded guilty to taking $250,000 in bribes for a red-light camera company, the Illinois Policy Institute noted.
Meanwhile, Illinois drivers continue to lose billions of their hard-earned money to these electronic surveillance state devices.
Between 2008 and 2018 alone, drivers were forced to pay $1.1 billion in fines — which amounts to $100 every 33 seconds, the institute said.
In the end, though, it appears that only the little people have to pay these fines, with Lightfoot and others seemingly exempt from the laws they force upon others.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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