Lightfoot’s limos get 5 speed camera tickets, pay none
Mayor Lori Lightfoot just cried ‘safety’ in fending off an effort to curb the speed cameras that issued more tickets than Chicago has residents. But her travel detail has its own need for speed: 3 speed cam tickets and 2 warnings.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s personal drivers received three speed camera fines and two warnings in the past 14 months while shuttling the mayor around Chicago. They remain unpaid.
Department of Finance data shows Lightfoot’s detail was caught speeding 11 mph or more over the limit twice and once driving 6-10 mph over the limit through a school zone near Washington Park, where the mayor had received a warning months earlier.
The unpaid tickets note children were present both times Lightfoot was caught breaking her own 6-10 mph rule.
While Lightfoot released a statement July 26 defending her speeding as necessary to preserve her own safety, aldermen have been quick to point out the contrast between the mayor’s actions and rhetoric.
“No one likes speed cameras. I get it,” Lightfoot said in June as council members tried and failed to raise the ticketing limit back to 10 mph. “But this is life or death that we’re talking about here, and we’ve got to step up as a city and address this.”
Lightfoot’s new tickets are only the most recent of the 19 speed and red-light citations her detail has received since she become mayor. After the Chicago Tribune exposed the mayor for dismissing 10 of those tickets, she told media her drivers now pick up the tab.
One SUV in the mayor’s protection detail is eligible to be impounded and booted over the delinquent fines.
Ald. Raymond Lopez said the findings are just “another Lightfoot hypocrisy.”
“Saying motorists need to slow down while her taxpayer-funded motorcade continues to rack up speed and red-light tickets,” Lopez told CWB Chicago. “This is not unique to her being mayor, sadly, as she racked up plenty of speeding tickets in Ohio, also.”
Lopez voted with 17 other aldermen in the city council July 20 to repeal Lightfoot’s 6-10 mph ticketing threshold for Chicago speed cameras.
While report after report found Lightfoot’s lower limit failed to reduce traffic deaths while doubling city revenues on the backs of majority low-income and minority drivers, the policy remains in place today. Speed cameras issued $89 million in fines during 2021, with $59 million of that just from the lower, 6-10 mph speed tolerance Lightfoot imposed. The cameras issued over 1 million tickets for $36 million in the first half of 2022, but traffic deaths still hit a new high.
Lightfoot’s statement said her detail’s speeding violations will be reviewed and dismissed should the Department of Finance determine the drivers were acting to keep the mayor safe.
And it’s all about safety.