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.

New York City Cuts Speed Limit. Should Chicago?

The New York Daily News reported this month that the New York City Council passed legislation that cut the speed limit to 25 mph. The change in speed limit was done in an effort to cut back on traffic fatalities in the city. City officials believe that the slower speed limit was decrease the chance of fatality by 50% compared to vehicles driving 30 mph. No scientific evidence or studies were provided in the article to back this claim.

“By lowering the speed limit, we send a message to drivers that they must not only drive slower, but safer on our streets,” said Transportation Committee chairman Ydanis Rodriguez. “For too long our roads have been a battleground between pedestrians and drivers, costing countless lives in preventable situations. This type of environment is unacceptable and will be tolerated no longer.”

Highways and parkways will still have higher limits, while school zones and other spots will still have lower speeds.

Should the Chicago mayor’s office and the City Council here consider a similar measure? Mayor Emanuel has stated over and over that he is committed to protecting pedestrians and bicyclists. He has taken steps by inserting speeder cameras and has opened protected bicycle lanes throughout the city. Emanuel has stated that the cameras were inserted for safety purposes only and are not a money grab for the city. Ok, then why not follow in New York’s footsteps and lower the speed limit. If safety is priority one for drivers and pedestrians, the I believe the mayor and City Council should strongly consider lowering the speed limits, at least in certain areas of the city.

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