City Council decides fate of Lightfoot’s speed camera cash cow

July 20, 2022

Speed cameras cost Chicagoans $36 million so far this year, while fatal accidents set a record

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City Council decides fate of Lightfoot’s speed camera cash cow 
Speed cameras cost Chicagoans $36 million so far this year, while fatal accidents set a record 

CHICAGO (July 20, 2022) — Today, the Chicago City Council will vote on a resolution to repeal Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s speed camera ticketing policy, as new findings show more fatal traffic accidents than ever.

Original Illinois Policy Institute analysis found Chicago speed cameras issued more than 1 million tickets to drivers in 2022, one every 14 seconds. These tickets have generated more than $36 million for Chicago this year, over $207,000 per day.

Lightfoot lowered the automatic ticketing threshold in Chicago from 10 mph above the speed limit to 6 mph – issuing a $35 ticket for drivers going 6 mph over the speed limit. Over $23 million in ticket revenue this year has been from these $35 tickets.

The policy was changed under the guise of improving public safety, however, research shows 72 Chicagoans died in traffic collisions before July, more than the first six months of any other year.

The resolution proposed by Ward 9 Ald. Anthony Beale would return the ticketing threshold to $35 for motorists driving 10 mph above the speed limit.

Austin Berg, vice president of marketing at the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute, offered the following statement:

“It’s clear this policy was always about raising revenue for the city: Chicagoans have had enough. If it’s repealed, Chicagoans will save millions in potential speeding fines, particularly low-income families who have been disproportionately affected by the Lightfoot policy.

“The vast majority of speed camera revenue in Chicago now comes from individuals going between 6 and 10 mph. This is just another nickel-and-diming scheme that extracts the most dollars from the people who can least afford it.

“Chicago’s City Council is responding to residents’ desires to remove this exploitative and ineffective ticketing policy. Chicago politicians can find better ways to balance their budget than draining residents’ wallets. A good start would be supporting constitutional pension reform.”

To read more about Chicago’s speed cameras, visit: illin.is/speedcam2022.

For bookings or interviews, contact media@illinoispolicy.org or (312) 607-4977.