It’s safe to say that Chicago’s new speed-camera rule is controversial. Since March, the cameras have been issuing tickets to vehicles going at least six miles per hour over the speed limit. Before 2021, the cameras only activated when a vehicle was speeding by at least 10 mph.
City officials say that the measure is mostly about improving safety in school zones, but many residents suspect that revenue is the real reason for the change. In the 36 days before the six-mph tickets became the rule on March 1, there were 35,784 traffic tickets issued in Chicago.
In the 36 days after March 1, more than 398,000 tickets were issued. That would translate to around $871,000 in fines, though the city claims that some of the tickets issued due to traffic cameras are simply warnings.
Can speeding cameras reduce car wrecks?
From a personal injury perspective, anything that forces drivers to slow down is a good thing. The faster a vehicle is going, the less time the driver has to react to things like a red light or a car stopped ahead of them. Reducing speed by even five or six mph can significantly increase the time drivers have to brake or move out of the way of a potential collision.
Most people think they are good enough drivers to get away with speeding. But all it takes is a few seconds of losing control of a speeding car or truck for a tragedy to result. Innocent people can be killed or suffer lifelong disabilities. This is why there are speed limits on city streets, county and state highways and interstates.
The need for financial compensation
Whatever the motives for reprogramming the traffic cameras, it is likely that the result will be fewer serious car accidents. But they will not disappear from Chicago, unfortunately. There will probably always be a need for people injured in preventable crashes to seek compensation from the negligent drivers who harmed them.