Tag Archives: Chicago speed cameras
In Illinois, there’s only one municipality in the state where speed camera enforcement is allowed–Chicago.
But if a downstate lawmaker gets his way, this invasive species may expand to the entire state of Illinois.
Despite a ruling last week in which a judge said the city’s automated ticketing programs violate “fundamental principles of justice,” officials said there are no plans to return the hundreds of millions in fines and late fees collected from hundreds of thousands of drivers.
That’s because the ruling by Cook County Circuit Judge Kathleen Kennedy did not officially void any tickets nor stop the city from issuing new ones, said Bill McCaffrey, spokesman for the city’s Law Department.
And there will be no change to how the city adjudicates camera violations going forward, he said.
“The judge in this case did not rule on any claims of this case and did not void any tickets,” McCaffrey said in a written statement. “The city has procedures in place that guarantee that individuals who believe their tickets were improperly issued can contest them through the administrative process, where they receive a hearing and impartial review of the evidence.”
And as far as refunds, it could take several years to determine if the lawsuit has merit, and if so, for a judgment to be awarded. In fact, the suit filed on behalf of three ticketed drivers is not yet a class-action lawsuit.
Despite having a cancelled check to prove payment, a local writer is still fending off a city collection agency over a speed camera ticket the city erroneously recorded as unpaid.
Local writer Don DeBat chronicled his drama over a speed camera violation over at Loop North News recently.
DeBat got caught by a speed cam back in May and paid the $35 fine by check within a week.
But in August, he received a letter from the Chicago Department of Finance telling him his ticket was still unpaid and now he owed $70 since the original fine had doubled.
Two days before Christmas the city has announced an expensive gift for Chicago motorists–more speed cameras!
Speed cams near two parks began issuing tickets on Wednesday, December 23rd according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.
Speed cameras near Mulberry Park in the 3200 block of south Archer Ave. and adjacent to Keystone Park in the 4000 block of west North Ave and the 1700 block of north Pulaski Avenue just completed the 30-day warning period. Cameras at the two sites went live in November.
Only after a month-long period of issuing warnings for exceeding the speed limit do the cameras begin issuing tickets with monetary fines.
Here’s One Strategy For Beating A Speed Cam Violation
No sign, no ticket.
At least that’s the way it should be for drivers caught in the tendrils of Chicago’s speed camera program.
For the uninitiated, Chicago’s speed camera enforcement system is a city revenue enhancement program that utilizes close to two hundred automated cameras to ticket motorists who are exceeding the speed limit in locations near schools and parks.
But Illinois state law and the city’s municipal code requires proper signs to be posted to alert drivers of the impending speed enforcement.
If the signs are not there, not posted or are obscured or damaged or lying on the ground, the violation is not technically valid.
In an effort to diminish some of the criticism of recent Tribune reporting on how poorly the city manages its speed camera program, the city’s speed cam vendor released a video showing, to the utter shock of no one, that sometimes cars (and motorcycles) break the speed limit.
American Traffic Solutions (ATS) put together this propaganda video just before the Trib’s stories broke showing some cars and motorcycles driving at unconscionably dangerous speeds including a few at, or over 100 mph.
Of course, no rational people believe driving that fast is a good idea. In fact, most people think it’s stupid, dangerous and maybe even insane.
But rational people also know that Chicago’s speed cameras have little to do with traffic safety and a lot to do with generating income.
Illinois has a lot of speed traps.
According to the National Motorists Association, Illinois ranks 10th in the nation for speed traps with 477 reported locations.
Texas ranked number one in the U.S. with 1,383 speed trap locations followed by California with 1,076.
The NMA compiled the lists of the worst states for speed traps from data reported to their National Speed Trap Exchange for the last five years.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not happy.
That’s because one of his pet revenue projects, the city’s speed camera program, has been proven to have issued hundreds of thousands of improperly issued violations by the Chicago Tribune.
The Tribune estimates the city has issued nearly $2.5 million in erroneous ticket fines.
The Tribune discovered problems with nearly every aspect of speed camera enforcement. In some cases signs were not installed properly, tickets were issued around schools when school was out, or were issued after parks closed or when parks were under construction.
In an effort to make himself the most hated person on the 6th floor of City Hall, reporter David Kidwell dropped another blow to Chicago’s automated traffic enforcement industry in Wednesday’s Chicago Tribune.
The Trib story provides overwhelming evidence the city’s speed camera program has been issuing tens of thousands of erroneous violations costing unsuspecting drivers millions of dollars in fines.
Among the findings, the Tribune discovered more than 22,000 speed cam tickets were issued around parks which were closed for construction, over 11,000 speeding tickets were issued around parks past the parks posted hours, and 28,000 tickets were issued at locations where warning signs were either not posted or obscured.
Not only that, a random review of 1,500 tickets around school zones found a third had no children present in the video or photographs. And 62,000 school zone speeding tickets were issued during the summer–when school was out.
In fact, a protest spearheaded by Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras, took place Monday to vent the frustration of locals–including Ald. George Cardenas.
Cardenas and his constituents point out the location selected by the Chicago Department of Transportation is not protecting any children due to the lack of said juveniles in this heavily industrial stretch of Archer Avenue. Sure, there’s a playlot nearby, but well out of view and far from the camera.