Mayor Rahm Emanuel is still insisting that his bill to install speed cameras on Chicago streets is about “the safety of our children.” The bill, which was passed by the General Assembly in November, now awaits the signature of Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature, who has until Feb. 6 to make a decision on whether to sign it into law.
I say it’s about revenue, and the bill’s language proves it.
If you get caught speeding by police, you’re guilty of a moving violation, which goes on your driving record. If you accumulate three moving violations within a 12-month period, the Secretary of State’s office can suspend your driving license.
The speed camera bill, on the other hand, only specifies penalties for non-payment of fines.
Upon receipt of a certified report, as prescribed by subsection (c) of this Section, from any municipality or county stating that the owner of a registered vehicle: (1) has failed to pay any fine or penalty due and owing as a result of 10 or more violations of a municipality’s or county’s vehicular standing, parking, or compliance regulations established by ordinance pursuant to Section 11-208.3 of this Code, (2) has failed to pay any fine or penalty due and owing as a result of 5 offenses for automated speed enforcement system violations or automated traffic violations as defined in Sections Section 11-208.6, 11-208.8, or 11-1201.1, or combination thereof, or (3) is more than 14 days in default of a payment plan pursuant to which a suspension had been terminated under subsection (c)of this Section, the Secretary of State shall suspend the driving privileges of such person in accordance with the procedures set forth in this Section.
In other words, speed camera tickets are like parking tickets. You can collect as many as you want, and as long as you pay them, you’re welcome to keep speeding past grade schools.
If Emanuel were really serious about protecting the children, he would have insisted that camera-issued tickets be classified as moving violations, so drivers who speed past schools can be removed from our roads. But every time a driver loses his license, the city loses a potential source of revenue, so the mayor didn’t make that request.
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