Children's Safety Zone Program & Automated Speed Enforcement

Chicago experiences roughly 3,000 crashes annually between motor vehicles and pedestrians, about 800 of which involve children.

The Children’s Safety Zone Program protects children and other pedestrians by reminding motorists to slow down and obey speed laws – especially in school and park zones. Safety zones are designated as a 1/8th of a mile boundary around any Chicago parks or schools. 

The program uses enhanced signage and automated safety cameras to identify and ticket motorists who are breaking the law by exceeding the speed limits. The registered owner of the speeding vehicle will be issued the speeding ticket.

The automated speed enforcement cameras are only one part of the “toolbox” the City will use to enhance safety for our children and all residents in safety zones, including:

  • Pedestrian refuge islands
  • Safety zone signage and street stencils
  • High-visibility crosswalk markings
  • Speed feedback signs
  • Speed humps
  • Traffic signal improvements
  • Curb and ramp improvements
  • Pedestrian countdown timers
  • Lead pedestrian intervals
  • In-street “Stop for Pedestrians” signs

The City ordinance establishing the Children’s Safety Zone program substantially narrows the hours and locations of automated speed enforcement that are allowed under state law, and provides for the following:

  • The enforcement hours will be limited from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in safety zones around schools on school days (Monday through Friday)
                1. 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.: 20 miles per hour (mph) speed limit when children are present; and the posted speed limit when no children are present

                2. 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.: The posted speed limit

  • The enforcement hours around parks will be limited to only those hours parks are open (typically 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., 7 days a week) with a 30 mph speed limit
  • Only warnings will be issued for the first 30 days after a cameras are newly-established in a safety zone
  • The first time a vehicle owner is eligible to receive an actual ticket, they will instead receive a warning notice
  • Fines for violations are $35 for vehicles traveling 6-10 mph over the posted speed limit while in a safety zone, and $100 for vehicles traveling 11 or more mph over the posted speed limit.  

Further, the City is capping the locations where speed cameras can be installed to 20% of the 1,500 safety zone locations allowed by state law (approximately 300). 

Camera locations are chosen based on available data regarding traffic, speeding, and crashes.  The City has established six geographical regions wherein no fewer than 10% of speed enforcement safety zones will be located in each region. The first cameras were installed in August 2013, with the first violations being issued in September.

Revenue from the program will be used for programs that enhance the safety of children, including afterschool, anti-violence and jobs programs; crossing guards and police officers around schools; and infrastructure improvements, such as signs, crosswalk markings and other traffic safety improvements.

A pedestrian hit by a car traveling 20 mph – the speed in a school zone – has a 95% chance of living.  That same person hit by a car traveling more than 40 mph has an 80% chance of dying.

Speed is one of the biggest determinants in whether an accident results in a serious injury or fatality, and reducing speeds to the posted limits will save lives. The Children’s Safety Zone Program protects children and other pedestrians by reminding motorists to slow down and obey speed laws – especially in school and park zones.

List of Activated Speed Cameras and Enforcement Schedule

How do Automated Speed Enforcement Cameras Work?

Automated Speed Enforcement Signage

Automated Speed Enforcement FAQ

Map of Camera Locations on Traffic Tracker

List of all Children's Safety Zones with Crash Data

Child Safety Zone Ranking Methodology

2018 Chicago Automated Speed Enforcement Camera Before and After Safety Impact Analysis

School Calendar Resources

Chicago Children’s Safety Zones Crash Data from 2009-2012


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