November 7, 2011

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Medical Professionals, Elected Officials and Community Leaders Urge Passage of Automated Speed Enforcement Legislation

Highlights Importance of Speed Cameras to Protect Children Near Parks and Schools

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined University of Chicago medical professionals, Chicago Fire Department EMS personnel, elected officials and community leaders to urge passage of the Automated Speed Enforcement legislation currently under consideration by the Illinois General Assembly.

“Two weeks ago, the Illinois Senate passed an Automated Speed Enforcement bill that will help us better protect our children. This was a victory for Chicago and Chicago's families. Now we need the Illinois House of Representatives to join us in our efforts to help make our streets safer,” said Mayor Emanuel during a press conference at Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC).

At OEMC, live camera feeds highlight some of Chicago’s most dangerous pedestrian intersections; including 63rd and Western, which is the 6th highest pedestrian crash intersection and the most dangerous intersection within the designated safety zone.

On November 2nd, an 8th grader from the CICS Wrightwood Campus was hit by a car on 79th and California. On October 30th, 6-year-old Diamond Robinson was killed after a car struck her at 70th and Loomis in the city's Englewood neighborhood.

“I have said it before; I don’t care if we collect a single dollar from this initiative. This is about saving lives of children who shouldn’t be worrying about their safety while walking to school or to the park. If we can save a life then we have done our job to protect the children of this city,” added the Mayor.

The Illinois House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on Automated Speed Enforcement later this week. The legislation would allow Chicago to use its red-light cameras and mobile units to record vehicle speeds in safety zones located within a 1/8  mile radius of schools and parks—areas with high numbers of pedestrians, especially children.

Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) would use an Automated Speed Enforcement Placement Model that identifies high priority locations for cameras.  The Model would use factors like high rate of pedestrian crashes, the severity of the injuries, and number of vehicular crashes to determine the locations. 

In addition, CDOT would conduct a public education campaign to inform motorists of the new enforcement effort.  All intersections would have highly visible signage, and the City would grant an initial grace period of 30 days in which it will notify violators that they were caught speeding and issue a warning. 

After the 30-day grace period, the enforcement will be determined by speeds over the 5mph threshold with staggered fine levels.  Motorists traveling over the speed limit by five miles per hour or less will receive a warning letter to deter future speeding.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has shown that speeding and crashes with pedestrians go hand-in-hand. Industry studies have also shown that reducing vehicle speed can greatly enhance the chances of a pedestrian surviving a crash.   At 30 mph, 55 percent of pedestrians survive crashes, but at 40 mph, just 15 percent survive.