Cameras would catch highway speeders

CHICAGO This is only a proposal; it will take a new state law for it to become reality. But the governor and the Illinois State Police will aggressively push for it. Because speeding is the cause of close to 40 percent of the fatalities in Illinois, saving lives is the goal of highway cameras, and so is raising revenue.

Cameras, cameras and more cameras...Big Brother is not only watching on Chicago street corners and highway work zones, but if Governor Blagojevich gets his way, the interstates will be camera ready to snap speeders.

"You could be 10 miles an hour over the speed limit and the speed enforcement camera won't impact you. But if you start getting in that area of 15 mile an hour or more above the speed limit, then you're getting in the area of what the law says and what traffic experts claim is reckless driving," said Governor Blagojevich.

The plan is to place over 100 cameras in high-speed corridors and high-crash areas all over the state, and while the governor says "this has nothing to do with raising revenue," the money raised from speeders will go toward hiring 500 new Illinois State Police officers.

"The Illinois State Police will create 10 statewide special enforcement teams to focus on gangs, guns, and criminal and traffic activity," said Larry Trent, Illinois State Police.

Photo speed enforcement is modeled after a program in Arizona, where fatalities and injuries have been reduced significantly since the state equipped its highways with cameras.

"We know also from the experience in Arizona, that when the speed enforcement cameras were put in place in Arizona, injuries to traffic accidents were reduced by 40 percent," said the governor.

The governor believes saving lives outweighs any privacy issues one may have by taking their picture.

If you get caught speeding on camera, state police say you will find out about it in the mail.

"The citation will be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle. Failure to pay the fine will result in the suspension of the vehicle's registration," Trent said.

Currently, state law only allows cameras to catch speeders in construction zones. It will take the state legislature to pass a new law to allow cameras on the interstate.

So far, the governor has not said how the program will be paid for initially. The 500 police officers hired from the revenue raised will fulfill the governor's promise to help Chicago police combat crime.

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