The Chicago City Council recently approved a speed-camera ordinance promoted by Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel. The ordinance will allow speed-cameras positioned around Chicago to video speeding drivers and issue them $100 tickets. Proponents of the law believe that motorists who drive at dangerous speeds are a threat to others drivers as well as pedestrians and cause fatal car accidents.
Opponents of the new law feel this ordinance is simply a money maker for the city but one Alderman spoke of the time he was hit by a car at age eight and stated that if the cameras save one child's life, they will be well worth it.
To help get the ordinance passed, the Mayor decided that all monies earned from the speed-cameras will be used to better Chicago's schools and parks. Hours that cameras would operate around schools and parks were also scaled back in order to gain support for the law.
Despite the opposition, there are several safety issues that the speed-cameras may resolve. Some safety improvements the speed-cameras may provide are:
- Decreased overall traffic flow
- Fewer vehicle vs. pedestrian accidents
- 80 percent reduction of the amount of drivers driving more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit
- Increased survival rates for pedestrians hit by automobiles
- Increased driver reaction time
The Mayor is easing the city into the speed-camera program. During the first 30 days that the speed-cameras are in place, only warning tickets will be issued. After the trial period, warnings will continue to be issued for first-time offenders, but repeat offenders will receive tickets in the mail.
The newly installed speed-cameras are sure to not only make Chicago's roads safer but help the city see a profit as well. The city is already reaping profits from a red-light camera program to the tune of nearly $69 million in 2010.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "Emanuel speed camera ticket measure approved," Kristen Mack, Hal Dardick and John Byrne, April 18, 2012.