New, lower speed limit violation enforcement is now in effect for drivers in Chicago. Under the new rules, tickets can be issued by speed cameras if you're going only six miles per hour over the speed limit.
If drivers are caught going just six miles-per-hour or more over the speed limit in a speed zone, they could get fined, beginning Monday.
The automated speed enforcement zones are posted near schools and parks. The city claims the new enforcement comes in response to an increase in speeding and deadly car crashes during the pandemic.
For vehicles traveling six to 10 miles-per-hour over the speed limit, the fine is $35. For vehicles traveling at 11 miles-per-hour, drivers will get a $100 fine.
While drivers may be frustrated, the city said this is a response to a 45% increase in traffic fatalities in Chicago from 2019 to 2020, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.
CDOT said with reduced traffic volume during the pandemic, there was a surge in speeding and traffic deaths. They said 139 people died in traffic crashes in Chicago in 2020.
"We're hoping this grabs people's attention. When you hit somebody in the pocket book, that's when they'll start to pay attention, especially if the fines start piling up," said Thomas Baliga, president of the Archer Heights Civic Association.
Baliga said he's thinking of the lives lost to crashes this past year in his community, including a 13-year-old girl killed in a crash in January.
"I mean we gotta star protecting the general population in the city," Baliga said.
Chicago drivers said they're frustrated with the idea of more speeding fines during one of the worst economic downturns in US history.
"We are struggling, and I don't feel that's fair to enforce that so soon," said driver Elsa Rivera as she waited for her car's gas tank to fill.
9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale said he's right there with them.
"This is the worst time on earth for us to be looking to find ways to raise revenue basically on the backs of people who can least afford it," Beale said.
He said new speed camera enforcement plans near schools and parks are there just to nickel and dime Chicagoans to help fill the city's budget shortfall.
"This is all a grab for more money more revenue, because we know the city is hurting," Beale said.