Governor Quinn Signs Speed Bill

With little fanfare this morning, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed SB965, the Chicago speed camera bill into law.

The law, which allows the City of Chicago to utilize its vast red light camera system to issue speeding tickets by mail at 79 intersections with 1/8 mile of a school or park, becomes effective on July 1st. Ultimately, it will become the nation’s largest automated speed enforcement program.

“Today is a good day for Chicago’s children,” the statement from the Mayor’s office begins. “With the opening of our libraries this afternoon, and Governor Quinn’s signing of the speed camera legislation, our children will be both smarter and safer.”

Drivers caught at these camera enforced intersections exceeding the speed limit between 5 and under 11 mph would pay a $50 fine, while drivers exceeding 11 mph would be fined the original $100.

Despite critics who believe the law is more about generating revenue for the city than saving children’s lives, Emanuel emphasis has been focused on improving safety.

“I commend Governor Quinn’s signing and the legislature’s bipartisan passing of this legislation,” his statement continues. “All this requires is that drivers obey the law near schools and parks to ensure the safety of our kids…I am grateful to Governor Quinn for supporting one more step in our comprehensive strategy to keep Chicago’s children safe.”

Barnet Fagel, Traffic Safety Expert for the National Motorist Association doesn’t believe the speed camera law does anything to improve safety and says there is no documented proof automated speed enforcement works.

“He just signed a warrant for more traffic collisions,” said Fagel who pointed to studies which show red light camera enforcement increases vehicle crashes. “In addition speed cameras will increase gridlock.”

Ethan Spotts, spokesperson for the Active Transportation Alliance disagrees with Fagel’s assessment.

“An analysis of more than 90 studies on speed cameras found an average injury crash reduction of 20-25 percent, with more effective programs reducing crashes by more than 50 percent,” says Spotts. “It creates safety in Chicago for all people using our roads. We’re glad Governor Quinn stepped up to sign the bill so that the citizens of Chicago can safely access parks and schools. ”

Now it is the Chicago City Council’s turn to weigh in on speed cameras. The City Council must pass the law here that allows the city to utilize speed camera enforcement. It could take up the matter as early as Wednesday, February 15th.

11 Responses to Governor Quinn Signs Speed Bill

  1. Steven Vance says:

    Barnet Fagel may be right about red light cameras increasing automobile crashes at intersections, but what about speed cameras at non-intersections near schools and parks? What data do they have about that?

  2. Stephen Donaldson says:

    Published on Sunday 5 February 2012 08:13

    A new report on speed cameras in Thames Valley which will be published on Tuesday casts doubt on their effectiveness as a road safety tool.

    The report investigates the effect that speed cameras have had on the number of collisions that resulted in death or injury.

    It includes all 212 fixed camera sites – within which there are 359 Gatso-type cameras – and 105 mobile camera sites that had been operating for two or more years at the start of 2009.

    The report concludes that:

    > Speed cameras have not made any impact in preventing road traffic collisions.

    > There was no reduction in the number of collisions at fixed (Gatso) camera sites after they were installed and there was no reduction in the number of collisions at mobile camera sites after they started operating.

    > Even after compensating for other influences such as rising traffic volumes and safer vehicle design, the cameras are still not demonstrated to have resulted in any reduction in collision rates. In fact, collision rates increased at mobile speed camera sites following deployment relative to all roads in the Thames Valley area.

    > There was found to be no relationship between vehicle speeds and the number of collisions. Reductions in speeds at camera sites (both average and above the speed limit) did not result in any reduction in the number of collisions.

  3. Juvenal says:

    When is the City Council Vote? There still has to be a Chicago ordinance to enact this abomination….

  4. Sauce says:

    Yet again Chicago residents sat on their butts and allowed a dictorial Mayor to do what he wants. If you drive a car get ready to pony up yet another tax for city coffers. It took Daley almost 20 years to overstay his welcome, Rahm has done it in 6 months.

  5. Sauce says:

    Oh and forget about the city council, they serve no purpose other than rubber stamping what the mayor wants.

  6. Adam_S says:

    Of course Active Trans gets behind this. Idiots. Makes me less happy to be a M-F bike commuter with nearly every mention of their name.

  7. Shamus says:

    The companies that run the red light and/or speeding cameras can not be trusted. Probably politically connected companies with no accountability if they make a mistake, which does happen. If I understand correctly, its $100 fine to plead guilty. To contest the fine, you have to pay court? costs and a fee to have the case heard even before a determination has been made equates to extortion. What kind of justice is it when it costs you more plead innocent. Many will be forced to plead guilty because they cant afford to contest it.

  8. Pete says:

    Big surprise that Pat “NO BALLS” Quinn signed this. Like he would ever say No to his puppetmasters.

  9. Tim says:

    BS. Where is the study that shows the number of “j” walkers that are involved in accidents around these schools. Cross whenever, wherever. Pickup and drop off anywhere. Lets get a “j” walking cam that fines a kids parent everytime he crosses illegal. We could tag kids with some sort of implant. Flee Illinois

  10. Shamus
    You used to have to pay an additional $40 to have your case heard, but last year the law changed, so there are no extra charges to plead against the trumped up case against you.
    Future Traffic Tie-ups
    Based on years of traffic research experience (no I don’t have a degree) I forecast just as red light cameras have increased rear-end collisions, speed cameras have their unintended consequences too. Anytime the natural flow of traffic is abruptly interrupted the odds of a crash increase. When the speed cameras are in place traffic will start to slow down for the speed cameras, then speed up once they are past them. Those motorists who don’t know the speed camera locations will proceed only at the posted speed limit thereby causing diminished traffic flow, increased grid lock and speeding tickets caused by the yellow lights being too short and forcing drivers to make unsafe driving decisions. By the way, most news stories refer to 170 cameras or covered intersections, the facts are there are 386 working red light cameras in Chicago alone and Chicago is the only city which owns their own cameras, other cities sign up for a service contract, which in itself is highly restrictive. I have read a number of these camera contracts and not once is the word “safety” ever appear. Not once are their goals stated to reduce crashes or injuries, but the financial obligations are clearly stated.
    And just for the Geek’s followers, there are some issues with the intended speed sensor the city wants to use, Ready, Shoot, AIM!

  11. paul westerberg of the replacements says:

    we all know this is just a way to make a lil extra cash and for the city. how much, though, i wonder. after all expenses, what is the take?

    officials have gone so far as to not deny this program is to make money. but, they recover and say that it doesn’t matter–as long as one life is saved.

    also, wonder if traffic patterns will be affected?

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