Chicago City Council committee abruptly delays vote on higher threshold for speed camera Tuesday

Outdoor camera can capture vehicles going 6 miles over speed limit

Tuesday, June 21, 2022
More speed camera vote delays leave some Chicago aldermen fuming
Right now, if you drive more than 6 miles over the speed limit, you can be ticketed, and proposed changes to that rule in the Chicago City Council keep getting delayed.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Another delay to a Chicago City Council committee vote on possible changes to speed cameras in the city has left some aldermen fuming.

Right now, if you drive more than 6 miles over the speed limit, you can be ticketed. The could change, if the proposed ordinance ever makes it to a full council vote.

The ordinance would raise the minimum speeding threshold for speed camera tickets to 10 miles per hour.

Tuesday morning over Zoom, Finance Committee Chairman and 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack abruptly postponed the meeting on whether or not to bring the speed camera ordinance to the full city council for a vote.

In March 2021, a law implemented by Mayor Lori Lightfoot changed the city's network of speed cameras so they issue $35 tickets to drivers caught going 6 miles per hour or more over the speed limit.

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

Right now you can get a ticket for going at least 6 miles an hour over the speed limit.

Cameras used to only ticket drivers going 10 miles per hour or more over the limit.

Ninth Ward Alderman Anthony Beale has been advocating this change; he has tried for more than a year to raise the speed-camera threshold.

"Their argument about this as about safety is totally false," Ald. Beale said. "This is all about generating millions of dollars off the backs of the people who can least afford it.

Beale wants $35 tickets for drivers going 10 miles an hour over the limit, and $100 speeding tickets for those that go 11 miles per hour over the limit, but said his proposal for change has been stuck in red tape and has not been able to make it to a full vote in front of the Chicago City Council.

"It's been held up. First they deferred and published it. They sent it to the Rules Committee. The Rules Committee then sent it to the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee has been holding it, and so this thing has been tossed around, and these are the games, you know, that administrations play when they don't want something to be heard," Beale said.

In November, the ABC7 data team analyzed speed camera tickets issued since the law was changed, and found the city issued a total of 1,027,414 tickets with fines; 84% of all those tickets were for driving 6-10 miles per hour over the speed limit.

The mayor's office did not respond to the I-Team's request for comment, but in past stories has said that safety studies justify the use and placement of speed cameras near parks and schools, and that there's been a reduction in crashes.

Beale said he just wants the full city council to be able to consider his ordnance to reverse the law.

"Not to have a hearing, not to have a vote on this is basically silencing the people of the city of Chicago," he said.

The Finance Committee did end up resuming Tuesday afternoon, where safety advocates and community members talked about the safety advantages of speed cameras.