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.

Short Yellow Lights The Cause Of Red Light Tickets Being Dismissed

The Chicago Tribune published an interesting report recently about the rash of red light tickets being thrown out by administrative law judges. The reasoning behind the judge’s decision is simple: shorter yellow lights. The city requires that yellow lights last at least three (3) seconds and video evidence has revealed that tickets are being issued to drivers because of quick yellow lights. According to the article,   Xerox State & Local Solutions took over the program in March. Since April, hearing officers have cited short yellow lights as the reason for throwing out more than 200 of roughly 1,500 rejected red light tickets, according to their written notations. In the four years before that, under the old vendor, judges blamed short yellows only 37 times out of more than 12,000 successful appeals, according to their written notes. It’s a rate 50 times higher than when the old vendor, Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., ran the program.

Asked why Xerox had so many tickets with yellow times below 3 seconds when Redflex tickets — which showed measurements to the hundredths of a second — almost never showed a time below 3 seconds, city officials declined to answer, citing an ongoing investigation by the city’s inspector general.

The red light cameras have been under scrutiny from the beginning. Media outlets previously reported, and I have discussed here, about federal bribery charges against former city officials and the prior company that managed the tickets, Redflex. Further, a class action lawsuit was filed against Redflex alleging that they were unjustly enriched millions of dollars due to their corrupt bribery tactics.

Where does this leave the city now regarding red light and speed camera tickets? I have said since the beginning that these types of tickets appeared to be a money grab, despite the mayor’s office insistence that these were implemented as purely a safety precaution. Studies have shown, which I have documented on this blog, that red light cameras actually make intersections more dangerous because drivers tend to stop quickly at intersections for fear of being ticketed. As a result, driver’s are more prone to being involved in rear-end auto accidents. Unfortunately, I don’t think red light or speed cameras are going anywhere anytime soon. And the city will continue to be blasted by the local newspapers and TV stations as long as they continue to hand out tickets that are unwarranted.

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