Governor Quinn Signs Speed Bill
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.