Speed Cameras May Provide Safety Benefits

Recently, many drivers in the Chicago area have expressed frustration, annoyance, and even anger at the placement of speed cameras, or remote cameras that automatically detect and then can arrange citations for those who exceed the speed limit. Here, tickets from a speed camera are called Automated Speed Enforcement Violations and they typically target motorists who exceed posted speed limits in school zones and near parks, so in Chicago, a wide area is affected. The system runs off 3D tracking radar which monitors the speeds of passing vehicles and which triggers the use of a high definition still and video camera if a vehicle is determined to be traveling too quickly; images of the car and of the car’s license plate are captured so that the owner of the vehicle can be ticketed in the mail for his or her conduct in defiance of the law.

However, an investigation by the Chicago Tribune with data released in November concluded that the cameras in Chicago issued $2.4 million in improper fines, giving drivers tickets when the cameras were supposed to be inactive or when the signs about enforcement zones were confusing. This led many in the area to protest the unfair nature of speed cameras and to question whether their use was really designed to improve safety or simply to raise revenue for Illinois.

The debate rages on across the country over the use and appropriateness of speed cameras, but now a new study may be altering some of that discussion. Published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (“IIHS”), the study was conducted in a community near Washington, D.C. which began using speed cameras in 2007. The community had 56 fixed cameras, 30 portable cameras, and six mobile speed vans and were used on residential roads with speed limits of 35 miles per hour or less as well as in school zones.

The numbers from 2014 were compared to those that existed before the speed cameras were placed as well as numbers from neighboring communities that did not use speed cameras. IIHS concluded that the presence of the cameras decreased speeding in excess of 10 miles per hour by 59 percent and that there was a 19 percent reduction in the likelihood that intersection-related crashes would result in a fatality or incapacitating injury. The belief is that if drivers realize they may be punished for breaking the speed limit, they will be less likely to drive in excess of posted limits, and the reduction in speed leads to a reduced incident of car accidents. Plus, those collisions that do take place will involve reduced forces due to the lessened speeds, making injuries and deaths less likely. With these reductions on a national scale, researchers concluded that approximately 21,000 fatalities or incapacitating injuries could be eliminated annually if speed cameras were used in all jurisdictions.

It is every driver’s duty to obey the speed limit in Chicago and to make sure they act in a reasonable, safe manner while they operate a car. If they fail to do so, they may be held liable for the full extent of the damages that result including any injuries inflicted upon victims.

If you were hurt in a car accident or if someone you love was injured or killed, make sure you understand your legal options by contacting the personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. today. We offer a case consultation without obligation to all those who call us toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 and we have a licensed lawyer standing by to speak with you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you have questions, call Abels & Annes, P.C. now and let us help you understand your rights.

Prior Blog Entry:

Accidents Expected as Warm Weather Comes to Chicago, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published February 19, 2016.


Emanuel’s speed cameras issue $2.4 million in bad tickets, by David Kidwell and Abraham Epton, Chicago Tribune, published November 18, 2015.

Speed cameras yield long-term safety benefits, IIHS study shows, IIHS News, published September 1, 2015.


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