Yesterday was an expensive day to open the mail. In it was a notice from the City of Chicago’s Department of Revenue. The notice was letting us know that while we were visiting the windy city this past January, we ran a red light.
Funny, I don’t remember Mr. Sally J gunning it an going through an intersection. Then again, I was probably reading email on my phone, passing snacks back to the kids, or was otherwise engaged. Besides, they had photographic evidence.
Gone, apparently, are the days where if you run a red light and an officer doesn’t see it, it’s like it didn’t really happen. No, no, the city of Chicago has installed cameras in some of its neighborhoods, and they send out “Camera Enforcement Violation” notices.
On the notice, there’s a web address where you can view the photos (there’s a grainy copy on the notice), and the video that’s caught you in the act. And apparently, Mr. Sally J observed a rolling stop before turning right at a light. Whatever.
I have to say though, the advent of video surveillance for traffic violations freaks me out a little. Now you can’t see the video, but when I watched it, it didn’t really look like violation to me. I mean, yes, it was a rolling stop, but it wasn’t dangerous. You can see the brake lights are on, and he’s slowed down to about 10mph. There are no pedestrians by the time our van rolls on the scene. I have a feeling that if an officer had seen this violation, he or she would not have pulled us over for this.
So city of Chicago, the check is in the mail. We paid for parking , we paid the tolls, we paid for lunch and now we’re sending you an extra $100 because your cameras told us to do so. Next time, we’re taking the train.
Disclaimer: I understand the need for traffic laws, but I tend to get a little defensive for red light/stop sign violations. It’s probably because I got a ticket once during summer school from a rent-a-cop on a university campus, ruining an otherwise fine summer day. I had to pay the fine or I wouldn’t get my transcripts for the summer. Anyway.