Speed Camera Bill Zooms Through Senate
When it comes to speed cameras, things are moving very fast.
Late Wednesday, with record breaking speed the Illinois Senate passed SB 965 on a 32–24 vote.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed the initiative with both House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), but it was Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) who rushed the bill through to passage in just three days.
The bill as originally written, would have defined “Safety Zones” as any red light camera intersection within 1/4 mile of a school, park, community college or university and for enforcement to occur 24 hours a day.
Republicans were able to get some concessions and water down the bill a bit by reducing the distance of the safety zones to 1/8 of a mile and restrict the time of enforcement to 6 AM until 10 PM every day. Enforcement around parks would start an hour before the park opens and an hour after it closes.
While originally, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation 161 RLC intersections would have become speed camera equipped, under the new 1/8 mile definition 79 of Chicago’s 191 camera intersections or 41%, will pull double duty for speed enforcement.
Just like red light camera violations, automatic camera enforced speeding violations will be sent by mail but only be issued when drivers exceed the speed limit by more than 5 miles an hour. Vehicles traveling at 5 mph or under will not be subject to a ticket.
Red light cameras equipped with speed enforcement enhancements, will only be able to monitor speeding vehicles only in the range of the camera’s field of view according to CDOT’s Brian Steele.
What that exact distance is, has not been determined yet according to Steele.
Senator Dan Duffy (R-Barrington Hills), a long time opponent of red light camera enforcement and who sponsored a bill to ban them statewide last year, also vehemently opposed SB 965.
“It’s just a big money grab,” said Duffy from the floor of the state Senate in Springfield. “If it passes, it will spread everywhere (in the state).”
The bill now speeds over to the Illinois House of Representatives