Public workers ran Chicago red lights more than 11,500 times in the past seven years, driving everything from CTA buses and garbage trucks to unmarked police cars and City Hall sedans, according to a Chicago Tribune examination of automated camera tickets. In most cases when the $100 tickets came back to the city, officials say, the drivers were tracked down and made to pay the fines.
But in the case of the Chicago Transit Authority, the fare-paying public pays the tab. The agency has paid the city about $148,000 in red light fines since 2010, after the transit union challenged the agency practice of charging drivers directly. While police cars and firetrucks are not supposed to get tickets, the Tribune found more than 1,000 tickets issued to unmarked police vehicles. City officials said those violations are routinely excused. The Tribune examination also revealed that nearly 600 license plates have received 20 or more red light tickets since 2007, including one woman who has been cited 72 times.