Automated Speed Enforcement Frequently Asked Questions

How does the new Children’s Safety Zone Program work to protect children and other pedestrians?

The Children’s Safety Zone Program protects children, pedestrians, and other vulnerable roadway users by reminding motorists to slow down and obey speed limits – especially in areas near schools and parks. The Program uses automated safety cameras to identify and ticket motorists who are breaking the law by exceeding the posted speed limits. The registered owner of the speeding vehicle will be issued the speeding ticket. 

What are the Safety Zone times and speed limits?

School Zones:

  • School days, Monday through Friday
  • 7:00 am to 4:00 pm: 20 mph speed limit when children are present in the safety zone.

and

  • 7:00 am to 7:00 pm: The posted speed limit, normally 30 mph. Each Child Safety Zone has the posted speed limit clearly displayed. Motorists’ should always follow the posted speed limit in each Child Safety Zone. 

Park Zones:

  • 365 Days a Year
  • Individual park hours vary. Visit chicago.gov for more information on specific park hours of operation.  Typically, Park Safety Zones are enforced from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm.  Cameras enforce posted speed limits (normally 30 mph). 

Will there be a warning period?

Yes, the warning period is one month.  Violations recorded within the first 30 days of a camera’s installation will receive warning notices only.  In addition, each registered license plate will receive one additional warning notice the first time it violates the speed limit in a Speed Safety Zone. 

How will I know where speed cameras are located?

The City of Chicago conducts ongoing educational and outreach activities to inform people about its Automated Enforcement program.  The City lists the location of all Automated Enforcement cameras on CDOT’s website and shows them on the Chicago Traffic Tracker website (https://webapps1.chicago.gov/traffic/). All automated enforcement systems include signs and pavement markings clearly indicating to drivers that they are entering an automated speed enforcement Safety Zone. 

What are the fines for a speeding violation?

The fine is $35 for travelling 6-10 MPH over the applicable speed limit within a Children’s Safety Zone.  The fine is $100 if the recorded speed of the vehicle is 11 or more MPH over the applicable speed limit.

How does the automated safety camera system work?

The automated camera system uses high-resolution digital video and still-photography cameras, equipped with state-of-the-art 3D tracking radar.  The 3D radar identifies vehicles traveling within the enforcement zone at a rate of speed higher than the posted speed limit.  The radar then triggers both the still and video cameras which capture the event, including the license plate of the speeding vehicle.

Two still images are produced.  The first image is the vehicle driving in excess of the speed limit as it enters the safety zone. The second image includes the distance and time the vehicle has traveled.  The license plate is recorded from a close-up of one of the images.  In addition, a high-definition video clip of the event is provided. 

How will the public be informed when new safety zones are put in place?

There are three ways that news about new safety zones will be shared with the public.

  1. The City of Chicago Traffic Tracker website will be updated on a weekly basis with camera locations and the speed limits for each safety zone.
  2. To ensure that the public is informed of each new Safety Zone, a 30-day warning period is in effect at each location. Those who violate the speed limit during this period will receive a warning notice in the mail.
  3. Enhanced signage and pavement markings are installed in Children’s Safety Zone in order to alert drivers and other roadway users. 

How can an Automated Speed Enforcement Violation be contested?

The registered vehicle owner may request a hearing to challenge an Automated Speed Enforcement citation.  The owner has twenty-one (21) days from the date of the issuance of the citation to contest an Automate Speed Enforcement Violation. At this point, the vehicle owner has the option to contest the violation either by mail or in person.  If no response is received, either in the form of payment or a hearing request, a Notice of Determination is sent to the vehicle owner stating that he or she has been found liable by default.  At that point, the vehicle owner must appear in person if he/she wishes to petition to set aside the default Determination. This option must be exercised within twenty-one (21) days of the date of the Date of Determination. Once the twenty-one (21) days have elapsed, the opportunity to contest has expired. A Notice of Final Determination is mailed informing the vehicle owner that their options to challenge the ticket, both administratively and judicially, have been forfeited. A penalty that can be equal to the fine amount is assessed once the ticket reaches Final Determination status. 

For more information, see the Department of Finance webpage, https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/fin/supp_info/revenue/challenging_tickets.html

The following defenses are allowed for most speeding tickets:

  • The respondent was not the owner or lessee of the cited vehicle at the time of the violation;
  • The citied vehicle or its state registration plates (license plates) were stolen at the time of the violation;
  • The facts alleged in the speeding violation notice are inconsistent or do not support a finding that the specified regulation was violated;
  • The operator of the vehicle was issued a Uniform Traffic Citation for a speeding violation occurring within one-eighth of a mile and 15 minutes of the violation that was recorded by the system;
  • The vehicle was an authorized emergency vehicle.

If I receive an Automated Speed enforcement citation, can I see video of the alleged violation on the internet?

Yes, digital video and still photographs will be made available to the registered vehicle owner.  The recorded speed will also be made available.  Instructions on the violation will show you how to access the video recording and the still photographs on a secured website.

If I receive an Automated Speed Enforcement violation, can anyone see my violation or is it private?

Recorded images made by an Automated Speed Enforcement system are confidential and shall be made available only to the alleged violator and governmental and law enforcement agencies for purposes of adjudicating a violation, statistical purposes, or other valid governmental purposes. 

Do people who lease or rent cars have to pay for Automated Speed enforcement violations?

Yes.  The City will send notice of a violation to the lessor of the vehicle, who then has 60 days to provide to the City with the name and address of the lessee, who in turn will be issued the citation.

Are there signs posted where automated speed cameras are enforcing?

Yes, City design guidelines on automated speed enforcement signage and pavement markings currently exceed requirements specified in the Illinois vehicle code (IVC0 625 ILCS 5/11-208.8 (a) (k) (L), AND 625 ILCS 5/11-604, as well as in the standards and guidance in FHWA’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), for all locations where speed cameras are operating. 

Signage and pavement markings installed at automated speed enforcement locations are regularly inspected by the City’s vendor, Verra Mobility (formerly American Traffic Solutions). Signage and markings are also inspected on a regular basis by CDOT employees and contractors to ensure that motorists have adequate notice at all ASE camera locations.

 

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