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Chicago Speed Cameras: 2,700 Tickets in 1st Month

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By Aditi Mukherji, JD on November 20, 2013 10:31 AM

Chicago's new speed cameras are barely a month old, but they're churning out a red-hot number of tickets.

More than 2,700 tickets and 324,000 warning notices have been issued during the first month of enforcement, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

But has the system had a meaningful impact on Chicagoans with lead feet?

The Windy City Slows Down

According to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration, the camera system is successfully prompting speed demons to slow down.

Speeding dropped by more than 65 percent from the first week of warnings until the third week of ticketing. The number of drivers going at least 10 miles per hour over the speed limit has dropped from 507 vehicles per day to 175 speeders a day, reports the Sun-Times.

Just as important, 90 percent of the speeders have not been issued a second ticket, officials said.

Raising Revenue

It appears adrenaline junkies are also being encouraged to stop and smell the roses ticket revenue.

Motorists caught going 6 to 10 mph over the posted limit pay a $35 fine. Drivers caught going at least 11 mph over the limit pay $100, reports the Sun-Times.

In the first month of enforcement, 416 violations were issued for those driving 6 to 10 mph over the speed limit; another 2,306 were issued to those driving 11 mph or more over the speed limit, according to city statistics.

Those 2,722 tickets add up to $245,160 in fines during the first 30 days the cameras issued violations.

Honeymoon Period

City officials anticipated the system's potential for raising significant revenue. With the first month's revenue numbers in, it seems their predictions were right on the money.

Following in step with red-light camera systems, Chicago may eventually unplug its speed camera system if a successful court challenge can be launched -- or when the cameras' novelty wears off on drivers and city leaders.

As demonstrated by a red-light camera ticket case in Missouri, one of the many problems with camera-issued tickets is that they indiscriminately punish the owners of cars, not the drivers who allegedly commit traffic offenses.

Until that inevitable cooling-off period arrives, city officials should enjoy their honeymoon period and drivers should know their legal rights.

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