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State Lawmakers Approve Speed Cameras for Chicago

November 10, 2011
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Illinois lawmakers have approved legislation to allow the city of Chicago to use cameras to catch speeders near city schools and parks.

State lawmakers have approved legislation to allow the city of Chicago to use cameras to catch speeders near city schools and parks.

The Illinois House voted 64-50 on Wednesday in favor of the proposal, pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The Senate had approved the measure two weeks ago, so it now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn for his consideration.

The governor's office said he would review the legislation when it reaches his desk.

The cameras would ticket cars going more than five miles per hour over the speed limit.

Before enforcement with speed cameras, the city would conduct a 30-day public education campaign to inform drivers of the new speed cameras. Intersections with the cameras would also have signage informing drivers that the speed cameras are there.

The Chicago Department of Transportation's before and after study of the city's 109 red light cameras found 53 fatalities — 26 of them pedestrians — before the cameras started snapping pictures and triggering tickets, compared to 21 fatalities — six of them pedestrians — after the cameras went in.

The mayor has called the speed cameras just one part of a strategy to increase safety near schools, in addition to deploying more crossing guards, increasing safe passage funds, enforcing a curfew and new cameras inside schools.

Right now, the city has red light cameras in 79 locations within a 1/8 of a mile of a school or park. Those are the cameras Emanuel said he wants to modify to catch speeders and they cover about 3 percent of the city.

Any motorist busted by a camera would be sent a ticket in the mail. Sponsors said the tickets would be sent to the owner of the car caught speeding. The cameras would only take photos of the speeding car's license plate, not the driver.

The owner would be subject to a $100 fine and five unpaid fines would result in the loss of the owner's driver's license. (CBS Chicago)

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