Governor Quinn signed legislation yesterday authorizing Mayor Emanuel to install cameras across nearly half of Chicago to catch speeding drivers and fine them as much as $100. Both Quinn and Emanuel have touted this legislation as being about children’s safety, but the legislation speaks for itself and it has nothing to do with children’s safety and everything to do with generating income.
Under the law, cameras may be installed within one eighth of a mile of schools and parks, encompassing about 47% of the city of Chicago. Speeders caught going 6-10 mph over the speed limit will be fined $50; 11 mph and above will be fined $100. Similar to the red light camera tickets, the ticket will be mailed to the offender (whoever the car is registered to) and that person will have no real opportunity to challenge the ticket.
The most glaring evidence that this has nothing to do with safety is that these tickets have no repercussions on a person’s driving record. If you get caught speeding by the police, you’re guilty of a moving violation which is reflected on your driving record. If you are caught speeding three times in a 12 month period, you’re license can be suspended by the Secretary of State. Under the new legislation, there is no limit to the number of times someone can be caught speeding in a “safety zone” as long as he/she pays the tickets they accrue. If this was really about children’s safety, wouldn’t there be stiffer penalties for higher speed in the “safety zone?” Wouldn’t there be a penalty for repeatedly driving too fast in a “safety zone?”
It would be nice if our leaders realized what an insult it is to the public to try and disguise this legislation as a safety issue when it is so obviously just about generating revenue.