Despite running on a platform to reform the city of Chicago's fines and fees program, Mayor Lori Lightfoot's 2021 budget package includes a controversial rule change that could cost some drivers.
Among the modifications included in the budget, which was approved by the Chicago City Council in late November, is new speed camera fines. The plan states those driving six miles per hour over posted speed limits would get a warning. If a driver is caught twice, they would then receive a $35 ticket in the mail.
Currently, those citations only happen for individuals driving 10 miles per hour over the limit.
People caught going at least 11 miles per hour over the posted limit would receive a $100 ticket.
"People [are] already suffering enough," one resident, Amaya, told NBC 5 when asked about the proposal Friday evening. "Why make it more stressful?"
While the measures were bound to be controversial and potentially unpopular, Lightfoot told NBC 5 in October that she was trying to explore as many options as possible to tackle the city's estimated $1.2 billion shortfall, but conceded there would be some painful choices.
Regarding the speed ticket changes, it remains unclear when they would be implemented.
"I'm sure they could find another way other than doing that," another resident said. "I think that its simple, but they don’t want to put the time or effort into thinking of something else."
A Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman told NBC 5 the city will begin enforcement of a new threshold for issuing violations in automated speed enforcement children safety zones, such as schools and parks when they are in session and open, and children are present.
"“The goal is not to issue tickets, but to encourage safer driving behavior and discourage speeding that is correlated with more severe injuries and deaths in traffic crashes," the statement continued.
Statistics provided by CDOT showed that traffic fatalities were up 35% through the end of November, with 120 fatalities. During the same time period in 2019, a total of 89 fatalities were reported.
Regarding fatal crashes involving people in motor vehicles, fatalities were up a whopping 78%, from 45 to 80 fatalities.
Additionally, according to CDOT, deaths are occurring when fewer cars are on the roads.