In December I wrote about Chicago speed cameras reducing speeding 65 percent in just 51 days, and I said “for those who argue speed cameras won't work and are all about revenue — not safety — these results must be hard to swallow.”
Well, it’s gotten worse for critics.
Last week the Sun-Times reported that speeding is down more than 90 percent at speed camera locations. At 5120 N. Pulaski Ave., for example, there were 1,230 speeders per day when the camera was activated. Two weeks ago, there were 59 speeders per day — a 97 percent decrease.
Because the city is generating less money than anticipated, the Sun-Times frames these results as a failure. Please! What’s important is that people are driving more responsibly and safely.
Another reason the ticket numbers are so low is the city’s overly-lenient policy of only issuing tickets at speeds of 10 mph or more above the speed limit. This allows drivers to go 39 mph in the typical 30 mph zones, which is 30 percent faster than the speed limit and increases the risk of dangerous crashes. For example, five out of 10 pedestrians survive when hit by a vehicle at 30 mph, but only one survives at 40 mph.
The city should go back to its original plan and issue tickets at speeds six or seven mph over the speed limit, at least on streets with limits of 35 mph or less and where 10 mph over the limit is a large percentage increase.
Photo credit: Phil Velsquez, Chicago Tribune