At the end of last week, the Sun Times reported that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made changes to the city’s red-light camera plan. The article reports that the mayor will unveil the plan to the City Council tomorrow, however some aldermen, in addition to many Chicago citizens, are wondering if the speed cameras are really being used to discourage drivers from speeding, or if they are about creating new revenue for City Hall. The speed cameras will eventually be placed at 79 intersections with in the city, where red-light cameras already exist. The plan targets intersections that are within school and park safety zones that have a lower and more controlled speed.
An Illinois car accident attorney at our firm pointed out that reports said that Mayor Emanuel originally planned to have the speeding cameras operate between 6 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays. However his new plan calls for cameras operating from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Rather than installing new cameras, the City will use cameras already in place to catch red-light offenders in an effort to cut costs.
A Tribune analysis determined that because of the placement of speed cameras near parks and schools, close to half of the city could be within the camera zones. While this may seem like a large area of the city, the ordinance is clear that it will only put cameras in 20 percent or less of eligible safety zones. The mayor plans to determine which schools and zones need to be covered based on data and research of the intersections. The Tribune article also states that the administration is more than willing to “compromise on issues such as a cap on the number of locations of cameras.”
Once the cameras are in place, drivers who are caught driving between 6 to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit will pay fines of $50. However, if drivers go over 10 miles per hour above the speed limit, they will have to pay a $100 fine. The city is going to advertise and make public announcements about the implementation of speeding cameras and will to only issue warning tickets during the first 30 days of operation. Also, first-time violators will not be fined, but will instead be issued one warning ticket. The mayor’s office also made it clear that these speeding violations will not be counted on driving records or impact car insurance premiums.
Our Chicago car accident lawyers do understand the controversy but support the placement of speeding cameras in Chicago because we know that speeding is a factor in many collisions. We hope that Chicago drivers become aware of the campaign and are motivated to reduce their speed when travelling in the city in order to avoid becoming involved in a serious accident with injuries.