Article from Reason by C.J. Ciaramella.

Chicago has slapped motorists with more than $100 million in vehicle impound fines since 2012 under a program that community activists and civil liberties groups say leaves poor defendants bereft of their cars and buried in debt.

Between 2012 and 2017, Chicago imposed $114 million in fines in more than 108,000 impound cases, according to records from Chicago’s vehicle impound database obtained by Reason. Roughly $36 million of that money was collected based on drug violations.

In April, Reason published an investigation into Chicago’s vehicle impound program, detailing how the uniquely punitive system is used to generate revenue for the cash-strapped city, often on the backs of people who can’t afford it…

Today’s numbers provide additional details on how Chicago uses fines and fees. The most common reason for impounding a car was driving on a suspended license, which accounted for $47 million in fines. Unpaid parking and traffic tickets can lead to driver’s license suspensions in Chicago. The debts can’t be erased through bankruptcy, and even relinquishing one’s car to the city will not count toward paying down fines and fees.

Read the entire article at Reason.

Image Credit: By Jericho [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons