4/25/2009Minnesota Attorney General Slams Illinois Over Bogus Photo Tickets
Minnesota attorney general files complaint with Illinois officials over bogus toll road photo tickets.
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson (DFL) is fed up with the state of Illinois for issuing toll road photo tickets and collection notices to innocent drivers in her state. Swanson yesterday fired off a 75-page complaint to the Illinois Tollway, the Illinois Office of the Executive Inspector General and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D). Swanson enumerated the problems Minnesotans described by those calling her office for help:
Swanson found that it was inadequate for Illinois Tollway officials to tell motorists that they could challenge tickets in a hearing process.
- Citizens were sent tickets for alleged toll violations involving automobiles they had previously sold.
- Citizens were sent tickets for violations involving automobiles they had not yet purchased at the time of the alleged toll violation.
- Citizens were threatened by collection agencies that their driver's license or vehicle registration will be suspended if they do not pay a fine to the collection agency -- even in cases where they were not responsible for the alleged infraction.
- Citizens reported receiving missed-toll tickets even though they have not driven in Illinois. (The latter category is believed to result from errors in visually processing license plate numbers from Tollway photographs.)
"The problem with this is that many citizens would rather pay the ticket -- amounting to hundreds of dollars -- than go through the hassle of contesting the matter," Swanson said. "I hope the Illinois Legislature will address the matter."
In light of the issuance of so many tickets to people who did not own the vehicle alleged to have committed violation, Swanson called on Illinois officials to stop sending photo tickets to Minnesota residents until Illinois can certify that its vehicle registration database contains up-to-date, accurate information. She also insisted that Illinois call off the collection agencies threatening Minnesota motorists with license suspensions for failure to pay the bogus citations.
"It is unfair for the Tollway to place the burden on Minnesota citizens to correct the errors of a faulty system," Swanson wrote in her letter. "Allowing a citizen to object to an improperly-issued ticket should not be a substitute for ensuring that tickets are properly issued to the correct owner in the first place."