Parking, traffic camera and vehicle tickets generate millions of dollars in desperately needed cash each year for the City of Chicago. But for the working poor, and particularly for African Americans, paying for tickets can be difficult — opening the door to more fines and fees, and spiraling debt. Drivers who don’t pay what they owe face tough punishments from the city and state that threaten their livelihoods.
How to Use the Ticket Trap, Our New Database That Lets You Explore How Chicago Tickets Motorists and Collects Debt
We hope you’ll play around with it and let us know how we can make it better.
We’ve collected data on 54 million tickets issued over the past two decades in the city. Search for your address and compare your ward with others, and see how Chicago’s reliance on ticketing affects motorists across the city.
We’ll share our latest stories there and give you a preview of an upcoming project.
The group is part of an effort to make vehicle ticketing less unfair.
Chicago Throws Out 23,000 Duplicate Tickets Issued Since 1992 to Motorists Who Didn’t Have Vehicle Stickers
The move is the city’s latest effort to reform its troubled ticketing and debt collection practices.
The changes signal a growing acknowledgement that the city’s reliance on fines and fees to generate revenue has come at a significant cost for some residents.
The proposal, the latest in a series of reforms aiming to respond to growing public pressure, would make it easier for motorists to avoid having their driver’s licenses suspended.
The proposal is intended to discourage drivers from filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but it does nothing to change onerous payment plans for motorists who don’t file at all.
Chicago Alderman Proposes Reining in Ticket Penalties That Drove Thousands of Black Motorists Into Debt
The proposal would cap late penalties and create community service alternatives to some fines.
Anna Valencia proposed creating city sticker options so low-income drivers can afford to be in compliance and avoid costly tickets.
We’ve made the data easy to download, and we invite you to use it as we keep reporting.
For the first time, the city’s database, which tracks more than 28 million parking and vehicle compliance tickets, is easily available to the public.
Seven weeks after the city pledged to address the issue, drivers are still on the hook — and now Chicago’s ticketing practices are becoming an issue in the mayor’s race.
The city tried to raise revenues by hiking the cost of sticker tickets, but instead hurt motorists in low-income, black neighborhoods.
Chicago Hiked the Cost of Vehicle City Sticker Violations to Boost Revenue. But It’s Driven More Low-Income, Black Motorists Into Debt.
Now, a former official regrets the move and wants the city to revisit it. Some policies, she said, are “terrible.”
We heard from you about how ticket debt, especially from $200 city sticker citations, has affected you. And we would like your help as we continue our reporting.
Chicago has issued 20,000 duplicate city sticker tickets since 2007. City officials are now looking at whether this violates a city ordinance and say motorists might be in for a refund.
Judges are demanding that lawyers tell their clients that their other debts might not get paid, but their lawyers will.
Our analysis shows suspensions tied to ticket debt disproportionately affect motorists in largely black sections of Chicago and its suburbs.
Still, we want to tell you a little bit about her, and about some of the other people we interviewed, because they helped inform our ticket debt investigation.