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Chicago Fleeced Its Drivers for 85 MILLION DOLLARS In Tickets Thanks To Speed Cameras Last Year

The Center Square- Chicago's speed cameras are generating millions of dollars in revenue while doing little to curb traffic accidents, according to a new report.

The report was done by the Illinois Policy Institute and highlights how a change in the ticketing system has led to nearly 2.6 million fines being given out to Chicago motorists.

In 2021, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot lowered the ticketing threshold on automatic speed cameras to 6 mph above the speed limit rather than 10 mph over the limit. Any driver going 6 mph over the limit receives a $35 fine. Any driver going 10 mph over gets a $100 fine.

The fines have led to the city generating $84.5 million in revenue from ticketing drivers in these areas.

Is $85 Million dollars in one year a lot of money? Asking for a friend.

Just kidding. Asking for myself. Take a look at my ticket history on the city website and holy shit did I get dinged a lot. And I don't even drive that much because I'm not in Chicago a ton, and never drive when I'm going to be out somewhere drinking, I uber. And I don't drive like an asshole. But doesn't matter here, they'll get you.

But hand up here guys, I have no fucking clue what the deal is with Chicago's red light s̶c̶a̶m̶ system, or the speed trap cameras. I can't keep this shit straight. And googling for info just has updates that go around in circles. 

Didn't they say a few years ago, even before Rahm left office that they were doing away with the red light cameras because an investigation found out they were setup to trap people going through shortened yellow lights so they could wack them with fines? 

Or am I insane?

And didn't Mayor Lightfoot say she was going to do the same thing with the speeding ticket cameras because the city was done nickel and diming its citizens when she was running for election?

Well, we remember her knocking the speed camera threshold from 10mph over to 6mph to incur a fine in the name of “public safety”, definitely not to increase revenue.

Which is exactly what happened as a result right? Safety improved right?

The cameras are placed in public areas like parks and schools to deter drivers from speeding. However, the report questions whether the cameras are working toward that goal. 

School area crashes almost tripled in 2022, and crashes near parks also increased. In total, crashes within 350 feet of a speed camera near Chicago parks increased in 2022.

"We are saying that there is no clear benefit. It's uncertain whether actually having a camera there is reducing crashes and injuries, which is their stated purpose," Korte said.

A significant amount of fines were received by low-income residents who incurred late fees and additional penalties before they were paid. Late penalties drive up the cost of tickets, turning a $35 citation into an $85 fine.

The report shows that speed camera sites in 2022 averaged $534,791 in fines, with 21 cameras issuing over $1 million in tickets and five issuing more than $2 million.

"You are taking $84.5 million out of the pockets of Chicagoans," Korte said. "Many of whom are low income and cannot afford that and are really strongly affected by this extra hit to their wallet."

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When you really think about it, we’re all insane for living here. Insanely in love. 

If it weren’t for the best summers in the world, the incredible food scene, the 7 professional sports teams (world champion Chicago Sky, nbd), the ridiculous amount of beautiful women, 4am drinking laws, and on and on and on there’d be zero reason to stick around here and deal with the corruption, crime, and insane taxes and fines we deal with on a daily basis. But those are the breaks and the price we pay for love.

And I’m not even mad about it

Giphy Images.