Susana Mendoza

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza (Illinois Comptroller's Office photo)

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, on Monday, announced that her office will stop helping local governments collect red-light ticket fines.

Mendoza said during a press avail that the red-light camera system is unfair to low-income Illinoisans and is the subject of a federal corruption probe.

The comptroller's office worked on behalf of 60 Chicago-area communities last year, including locally in communities like Aurora, receiving a portion of the fines. Around $11 million was collected, last year, in total.

Several Chicago media outlets have been reporting on federal investigations into allegations of political "pay-to-play" with a contractor, which the company has denied.  

The Chicago Sun-Times and ABC 7 in Chicago were also cited as bringing to light some of the issues with the cameras, including a study that found that most red-light tickets do not go to motorists who run through intersections during red lights but that they go to motorists failing to come to a complete stop while making right turns on red where such turns are allowed.

$100 red-light ticket camera fines can double if they initially go unpaid, and then almost triple, with vendors and private collection agencies in some cases able to keep a portion of the funds the state collects on behalf of municipalities.

Mendoza said in a statement, "loss of a driver’s license can mean loss of a job for some people who can’t afford to keep up with these fines and late fees."

The comptroller's office will cease collections on February 6th.