CITY HALL — Chicagoans can apply for their share of the $38.75 million that the City of Chicago will pay to settle claims that it failed to allow motorists to challenge tickets issued by red-light and speed cameras.
Under the settlement approved by the City Council in July, 1.2 million people who paid fines — but didn't get a chance to contest the 1.5 million tickets they received — could get a refund of half of what they paid the city, officials said.
Drivers have until Dec. 11 to file a claim to be eligible for a portion of the settlement, which will be paid out in August 2018, officials said.
Violations between March 23, 2010 and May 17, 2015 are eligible for the settlement — but only those to which the owner did not pay or contest the ticket and then was found guilty for failing to respond, officials said.
The settlement will send $26.75 million back to drivers and wipes out $12 million owed to the city by motorists.
The law in effect at the time required the city to send drivers a second notice about the violation, with 14 days to pay or contest the ticket before declaring that they were guilty and imposing a $100 fine on tickets not paid on time, officials said.
City officials changed the rules in 2015, and gave drivers who got a ticket — but no second notice giving them a chance to challenge it — an opportunity to challenge the old violations.
The settlement includes a provision that prohibits any of the tickets in question from being used to suspend a driver’s license or to boot a vehicle.
The settlement was in the "the best interests of the taxpayers," Chicago Corporation Counsel Ed Siskel said.
The city's red-light camera program has long been troubled.
In March, city officials agreed to ticket drivers only if they enter a camera-monitored intersection three-tenths of a second — or more — after the light turns red.