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Chicago's first speed camera will begin issuing tickets today, not just warnings, as a 30-day "grace period" has now expired.
The Windy City's first speed camera to issue traffic tickets is in the Mayfair neighborhood, where drivers caught going 10 mph over the posted speed limit will be fined $100, Chicago's WLS-TV reports. Another 50 speed cameras are also set to get the green light to issue tickets by year's end.
Will Chicago's attempt to use traffic cameras succeed where many other cities have failed?
City Pictures Potential Revenue
Chicago's sole ticket-issuing speed camera heralds more automated enforcement to come. Chicago's transportation commissioner told WLS that Chicagoans will "understand why [the city is] doing this" -- especially if the new cameras bring in "$200 million worth of revenue."
Money aside, the cameras are also being installed to promote safety in "Children's Safety Zones," areas near schools and parks where children are likely to cross the street.
But despite the extra revenue and added safety, will Chicago's speed cameras escape the problems that other cities' cameras have faced?
Problems With Traffic Camera Tickets
One of the main problems with speeding camera tickets (and red-light camera tickets too, for that matter) is that the evidence they provide for the alleged crime is often considered legally unreliable or hearsay.
Judges in Ohio and New Mexico have found that the tickets issued by these cameras are not enforceable in court. According to Cincinnati's WCPO-TV, one Ohio city was forced to pay back $48,500 in speeding-camera ticket fines to its citizens after a judge's ruling.
Chicago authorities are quick to point out the potential revenue stream that these cameras provide, but that money may not materialize if drivers choose to fight the tickets and succeed.
In addition, WLS reports that the city will eventually fine drivers for traveling 6 to 10 mph over the speed limit, resulting in a fine of $35. The city may be hoping that most citizens will simply pay up instead of showing up in court to fight the tickets. But Chicagoans aren't known for being passive.
If you've received a speeding camera ticket that you want to fight, you may want to consult a traffic attorney in your area to get an evaluation of your case.