Mayor Lightfoot’s Budget Proposal Includes New Speed Camera Fine

Last week Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced her 2021 city budget. As usual, there was quite a bit of anticipation, but more so this year due to shortfalls that have come with the Covid-19 pandemic.

One interesting proposal includes a new speed camera fine that would ticket drivers going 6 mph over the speed limit. Speed cameras were originally introduced by pervious mayor, Rahm Emanual. They were implemented with a lot of skepticism despite Emanual’s repeated statements that they were implemented for safety reasons only. He was adamant that they were not a money grab for the city. Lightfoot has stated the same: speeding is “clearly a public safety issue” and stricter speed enforcement was necessary to keep motorists and pedestrians safe. She said “exponentially” more “speed-related accidents and deaths” in 2020 was the justification for the new ticket standard, which would start with a warning followed by a $35 ticket for a repeat offense.

This is interesting as data published by the Chicago Tribune , indicates that so far this year there are 20,000 less car crashes in the city compared to this time last year. There have been 28 more Chicago traffic fatalities this year compared to this time in 2019.

I think it is clear that the mayor is doing everything she can to come up with money for the budget shortfalls. I don’t necessarily blame her. But be aware as you’re driving around the city. There may be a camera tracking you and you may receive a ticket in the mail. Speeding, even slightly, could cost you money.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago car accident attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Illinois Traffic Accidents and Congestion Increasing Despite Covid-19 Shutdown

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected almost every industry, the public sector and pretty much all aspects of our lives. When the pandemic started and the shelter in place order was announced by Governor JB Pritzker, traffic congestion and car accidents decreased dramatically.

The state slowly began opening back up again and traffic levels have increased in Chicago and throughout the state. They are still not and pre-pandemic levels, but as you drive around the city you are seeing much more congestion and the numbers back it up.

Despit the record low levels of traffic from March through May, the Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”) has reported 786 fatalities in vehicle crashes, a 16-person increase from 770 on Oct. 11, 2019.

This is an unusual trend that IDOT spokeswoman, Maria Castaneda, tried to explain recently: “While we can’t speculate and don’t know all the reasons why the overall numbers are aligning from last year with fewer cars on the roads, anecdotally we have noticed an increase in higher speeds,” C

Illinois State Police Sgt. Christopher Wilson added, “it is extremely difficult to make assumptions as to traffic trends, and even more difficult in these unprecedented times as we have no frame of reference to compare.”

So we are seeing more traffic on the road but not nearly as much as last year, yet Illinois traffic fatalities are at a higher rate than a year ago. IDOT thinks motorists are driving faster than normal, and are thus putting themselves in a much more dangerous situations. I would like to see more analysis than what IDOT has provided so we can understand why accidents, including deaths, have not gone down despite less traffic on the road. Do these accidents involve distracted drivers or texting and driving? If your car was severely damaged, are you in need of panel beaters? Was weather a factor? Driving too fast. Hopefully IDOT will provide us with a better understanding by the end of the year.

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076 or contact us through our website at www.blgchicago.com.

Teen Driving Deaths Down Drastically In Illinois

According to Illinois Secretary of State, teen traffic fatalities have decreased by 74% since 2007. According to data recently released to the media, there were 41 Illinois teen traffic deaths in 2019 and 48 in 2018. This is compared to 155 in 2007.

Why are they comparing the last two years to 2007? Well, in 2008 Illinois introduced the “graduated driver license” or the GDL, which includes three phases. The first phase is the “permit phase” for 15-year olds, followed by the “initial licensing phase” for 16-17 year olds. Then comes the final “full licensing phase” for those 18-20.

Here is what Illinois Secretary of State had to say about GDLs and the improved numbers: “The goal has always been to save lives. While our graduated driver licensing (GDL) program is working as intended with teen driving deaths decreasing, there is still more work to be done. My hope is that with hard work and continued open communication between my office, teens, parents and driver education teachers, teen fatalities will continue to decline.”

I am impressed by these numbers. The main reason is that the year this law went into effect, was the same time period the I-phone was introduced, which was the same time that the distracted driving epidemic began. We have to give the Illinois legislature and the Secretary of State’s office their credit as this GDL program seems to be working as slowly prepares young people with the training, skill and confidence to drive safely. Let’s hope this trend continues.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago car accident attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.