Group says Chicago's new speed camera law unfairly impacts minority drivers

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
Group says Chicago's new speed camera laws target minorities, working class commuters
EMBED <>More Videos

An advocacy group says the city's new speed camera law, which issues tickets when going 6 to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit, unfairly targets minority and working class commuters.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- An advocacy group says Chicago's new speed cameras, which ticket drivers going 6-10 miles per hour over the speed limit, unfairly impact minority and working-class commuters.

Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras is pushing to change when the city's 162 speed cameras can be used. The group said the current law is unfair, and has had the greatest impact on working-class commuters and in communities of color.

RELATED: New Chicago speeding tickets with higher fines now in effect

"There are people, seniors who have complained that have never gotten a ticket in their lives who have gotten multiple $35 tickets in the mail before they knew they had the first ticket," said Mark Wallace, Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras.

Drivers were previously only fined if they were going 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. Mayor Lori Lightfoot changed that threshold to 6 miles per hour over the speed limit.

In November, the ABC7 data team analyzed the speed camera tickets issued since the change was made and found a total of 1,027,414 tickets with fines. Eighty-four percent of those tickets were for driving 6-10mph over the speed limit.

READ MORE: Chicago's minority drivers more likely to get red light, speed camera tickets: study

The number of tickets issued increased three-fold when the speed limit decreased.

"This is a program that needs to come to an end," Wallace said.

The city said safety studies justify the use and placement of speed cameras and claimed there's been a reduction in crashes near them.

Alderman Anthony Beale introduced an ordinance to go back to the original law, only ticketing drivers going 10mph over the speed limit. The ordinance is stalled in city council committee, but Beale hopes to present it to the full council Wednesday.