As a transplant to Chicago, Bonnie King thought the city’s annual vehicle stickers were “novel.” So each year, she left the old city sticker on her car when she attached a new one.
Last week, the 32-year-oldAlbany Park resident was hit with a $120 ticket for having an improperly displayed sticker on her car. She said her 2011 sticker was adhered in the correct place, the lower passenger-side corner of the windshield, and wonders if she was ticketed because two old stickers were still in place.
“It seems to make no sense especially when I paid for the (current) sticker,” she said of her ticket.
Ald. Richard Mell recently emailed residents in his 33rd Ward with a warning after one of his constituents apparently received a ticket for a similar infraction.
“Please don’t get caught on a technicality!” Mell’s email read. “Remove the old stickers and make sure the new one is located in the correct position.”
City law requires motorists place stickers “at the lower right-hand corner on the inside of the glass portion of the windshield of such motor vehicle.” The ordinance also tells motorist they must follow the instructions on the sticker, which include removing the previous year’s sticker.
“They tell you to do it, but I don’t think it’s really that clear you’d get a ticket if you don’t do it,” King said.
However, Holly Stutz, deputy comptroller for the Department of Finance and Revenue, said the department doesn’t ticket motorists who leave old stickers on their vehicle.
A spokesman for Chicago police, which issued the ticket to King, said he did not have the records on King’s case and so could not comment.
However, he said that in general the department may issue tickets if an officer feels a sticker, or multiple stickers, are obstructing a driver’s view, the spokesman said. Both that infraction, and one for improperly displaying a sticker, carry a $120 fine, Stutz said.
There were 200,122 tickets issued to people who did not have a sticker or displayed a sticker improperly last year, according to Stutz. This year there were 134,262Ö tickets issued through Aug. 31.
Lou Rios, 68, of Roscoe Village, still has last year’s sticker attached to his vehicle along with the current one. Rios said he’ll remove the old one immediately if there is a chance he’ll be ticketed.
North Side resident Maria Acain, 45, has five stickers on her car including this year’s. She said she simply hasn’t had the time to remove the old ones and believes there are more important scofflaws for the city to go after.
“They have to concentrate on the vehicles that are not registered, rather than pick on good citizens that follow the rules,” she said.