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School-Zone Ticketing Called a Money Grab

CHICAGO (CN) - School-zone speeding tickets issued in the summer are "part of a fraudulent scheme to increase revenue" in Chicago, a class claims in court.

Kenneth Maschek, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in circuit court Friday, says he was issued a $100 fine for speeding near Lane Tech College Prep High School on June 26, 2014.

A speed camera, or Automated Speed Enforcement system, captured alleged violation, but the school year ended on June 10, Maschek claims.

His was one of more than 34,000 violations that Chicago issued over summer break this year, from July 1 to September 1, according to the lawsuit.

Maschek says the law is meant to keep the areas around schools, statutorily defined as one-eighth of a mile, safe for the children attending them.

Issuing violations outside of school hours, however, conflicts with the Illinois Vehicle Code, which says violations can only be given on school days, according to the complaint.

Chicago's violation has allowed it to collect "millions of dollars ... to which it is not entitled," Maschek says.

The city's website states that school safety zones are in effect from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on school days, reducing speed to 20 mph until 4 p.m. and 30 mph after that.

Maschek who cites the page and related press releases in his lawsuit, notes that signs posted near the zones also say the speed reduction applies "on school days when children are present."

Residents of Chicago "routinely drive through school safety zones on an ongoing basis," leaving them constantly vulnerable to speeding tickets when the reduced speed should not be in effect, the complaint states.

Maschek seeks punitive damages and a finding that the city's practice is unconstitutional. He is represented by Jacie Zolna with Myron M. Cherry & Associates.

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