Proposed Chicago Ordinance Would Allow Cameras To Ticket Drivers Blocking Intersections

According to the great website DNA Info Chicago, there is a proposed ordinance within the Chicago city council that would allow traffic cameras to ticket drivers blocking certain downtown intersections. Alderman Brendan Reilly proposed using automated cameras to enforce tickets on cars stuck in the middle of intersections when the lights change, thus blocking cross traffic. He specifically mentioned the corner of Randolph and LaSalle streets directly outside City Hall

Full disclosure, I don’t think this ordinance is being proposed for safety purposes. I think it is a traffic congestion ordinance that would hopefully force vehicles to avoid intersections when the light change. I actually walk past this intersection almost daily when I go to Court at the Daley Center, and the Alderman is correct: this intersection, along with Washington and LaSalle, is incredibly frustrating. It’s frustrating for both drivers and pedestrians when vehicles are constantly sitting in the middle of an intersection, making traffic more congested for everyone. Would this type of new traffic ticket make our streets safer and decrease the number of traffic accidents and pedestrian accidents? Probably not. Would it actually decrease the number of drivers that block intersections? Possibly. Especially if the fine is high enough. There has been no reporting on what the fine would be or whether this is close to passing. Another thought is that all of this congestion may just disappear when all of the construction for the separate CTA bus lanes are finally completed. I will be interested in seeing if this ordinance goes anywhere.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago pedestrian accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076

DNA Info Website Produces Fascinating Information On Chicago Speed Cameras

The fantastic website, DNA Info Chicago, published an interesting article about the statistics on Chicago’s speed cameras since 2013.

First a little background on Chicago’s red light cameras. The ordinance went into effect in 2013 and authorized the city to ticket drivers traveling 6-10 mph over the posted limit  with a $35 fine. Violators traveling 11 mph over are fined $100.  The speed cameras planted near parks are active when the parks are open, generally from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily and have a 30 mph speed limit. In school zones, the cameras are on from 7 a.m to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday when school is in session. The speed limit differs from 20 to 30 mph, depending on if children are present in the area.

The article revealed that of the 146 cameras around the city, only 21 (or 1/8) produced the majority of the $58 million the city has collected in fines since the program began in 2013.

The busiest 21 cameras are spread across the city, with 11 on the South Side, seven on the North Side and three on the West Side.The most productive camera can ring up more than $7,000 in fines a day, on average .

The busiest cameras tend to be on stretches where drivers feel comfortable letting loose. The top four revenue-producing cameras, for example, are found on long stretches of open road, sometimes near expressways or industrial areas, with little cross traffic.

I think this information is very interesting because the city has touted the speed cameras as a public safety ordinance, to help protect children and pedestrians in park and school areas. Yet, according to these statistics, the majority of tickets are issued in wide open thoroughfares with very little congestion. Areas that you would assume would have the most of the cameras would be focused on these dense areas. Yes, we all realize that speeding is a leading cause of car accidents and traffic fatalities. In fact, I posted a quote yesterday from the Illinois State Police that said 40% of all traffic fatalities in Illinois were caused by speeding. But, are these cameras actually effective and preventing speeding in areas that require them the most? This article leads us to answer no.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Updates On Chicago’s Red Light And Speeder Cameras

I wrote last week that
Chicago had declined to renew the contract of Redflex, its’ red light camera
company for the last several years. More news has trickled out the last few
days as the Chicago Tribune has reported that Redflex has
fired the top vice president that handled its’ Chicago account, and that the
city has focused on a finalist to take the place of Redflex starting this
summer. 

Redflex fired one of
their top executives, Aaron Rosenberg, and simultaneously filed a lawsuit
against him. The firing and lawsuit stems from unethical conduct
involving Chicago transportation official
John Bills, who received lavish vacations from a Redflex consultant who
received more than $570,000 in company commissions. Redflex filed a
lawsuit against Rosenberg in Arizona Superior Court in Phoenix seeking damages
from the man it once credited for much of its expansion in the
U.S. “Mr. Rosenberg engaged in a protracted and covert scheme to
misappropriate funds from Redflex through the submission to the company of
false requests for expense reimbursement,” the suit alleges. “Mr.
Rosenberg’s conduct was intentional, outrageous and committed with an evil mind
with the intent of causing injury to and/or in deliberate disregard of the
unjustifiably substantial risk of significant harm to Redflex.”  The
suit also alleged Rosenberg’s “dishonest and unethical conduct has
substantially harmed Redflex’s business reputation and goodwill throughout the
United States and has and will continue to cause Redflex significant
damage.”

In
other news Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions Inc. was selected
Friday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration as the preferred bidder to launch
an automated camera system to tag speeders near public schools and parks,
a program that could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. ATS and the
other finalist, Maryland-based Xerox State & Local Solutions Inc., were
chosen last year from a field of nine bidders. The two companies participated
in a month long test of their equipment in Chicago during which no tickets
were issued. City officials have declined to discuss the evaluation process.

These
are all interesting developments but I think taxpayers want to know if
these programs, which generate millions of dollars for the city, actually make
intersections safer for pedestrians and drivers. Is there a decrease in
accidents based on these cameras? As I have written in the past, many experts say
no. I am anxious to see the results of the investigation that is supposed to be
called for by the city council about the safety of these cameras. If it can be
shown that there are less car crashes and pedestrian accidents at these
intersections and the city makes money, then I guess it’s a win win. If not,
then the city needs to reevaluate these programs altogether.

If you
or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truckaccident, then call Chicago injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free consultation at 312-588-3384. 

Chicago City Council Passes Speed Camera Ordinance

The Chicago Trubune reported this week that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s controversial speeder camera law was finally passed by alderman. The vote was approved 33 to 14. The law did not pass without a few changes by Emanuel, who had received criticism by the press and by constituents, who suggested the cameras were money making opportunity by the city. Emanuel, who has claimed from day one that these were aimed to save children’s lives, made a few changes to the law before the vote. First, the cameras hours of operation will be limited from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, near schools and parks. Second, the fine for speeders driving 6 to 10 mph over the speed limit will see a fine of $35 rather than $50.

Most interestingly here is that Emanuel admitted that the research initially used by his office was faulty. He admitted it was “error-ridden” and should not have been released. Specifically, the Chicago Tribune previously reported that the cameras would show a 26% decrease in accidents rather than the 60% suggested by the mayor’s office.
I hope this idea works and people are mindful when driving near schools and parks. I can predict right now that my office is going to be flooded with calls from people who receive these tickets asking if there is anything to dispute the fine. A small portion of my practice is dedicated to criminal and traffic defense and I am certain I will receive calls from people asking if there is anything can be done to fight the ticket. The answer is no. These tickets are not traffic violations and they do not go on your driving ticket. These are more comparable to a parking ticket. The fines have to be paid (or risk having your drivers license suspended) but there is not effect on ones driving record or insurance.
Let’s hope we see the elimination of vehicle-pedestrian accidents outside of schools and parks in Chicago.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a Chicago vehicle-pedestrian accident or Chicago car accident, then car Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com. 

Chicago Officials Launch Pedastrian Safety Awareness Campaign

I have written in the  past about the steps the city of Chicago has taken recently to promote the safety of pedestrians. This includes an ordinance passed that makes it illegal for not making a complete stop when pedestrians are waling at a cross walk.  This safety push by the city counsel and Mayor Emanual comes on the heals of 32 pedestrians hat were killed by motor vehicles in 2010. The Chicago Tribune reported last week that city officials are promoting a giant public relations campaign to spread the word pedestrian safety throughout the city.  Chicago officials have been highly involved in statewide legislation introduced last week
allow speed cameras on many Chicago streets to safeguard children and other pedestrians near schools and parks. Chicago received a $545,000 grant from the federal traffic safety agency to conduct a study released this summer that pinpointed specific pedestrian-related traffic threats, including hit-and-run accidents, and to zero in on hot spots for car crashes involving pedestrians. Fines range from $50 to $500. The  new state law would require drivers to stop, not simply yield, for pedestrians.

The campaign includes which includes safety messages stenciled on sidewalks, stickers inside taxis urging passengers to report reckless cab drivers and flags for people to carry to boost their visibility while crossing streets. The initiative was kicked off with the placement of 32 mannequins — representing pedestrians killed in 2010 crashes across the city — on Wacker Drive downtown from Michigan Avenue to Wells Street.

The city announced a goal to reduce pedestrian fatalities to zero by 2020. In addition to the 32 deaths last year, about 3,000 pedestrians were injured in vehicle-related accidents citywide, records show. The safety push is being conducted by the city’s Department of Transportation and Police Department, with funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The pedestrian safety blitz was hinted at months ago with the launch of the city website chicagopedestrianplan.org.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago pedestrian accident or Chicago car accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com.