The Chicago Tribune recently reported that in 45 days, the city's first four speed camera locations (not to be confused with red light camera enforcement) caught an incredible 222,000 drivers (roughly 5,000 per day) cruising at least 6 mph over the speed limit. More than 80,000 of these drivers were 11 mph or more over the limit.
I am appalled, but not surprised, that more than 1,000 cars per day on average are speeding at each of these locations. Speeding is dangerous and deadly, but as this data shows, it’s also very common. So common, in fact, that many people treat speed limits as laws not worthy of enforcement, something cities do just to make money.
Indeed, this Tribune story raises red flags about the city's "revenue potential" for speed cameras but doesn't question drivers' rampant, dangerous speeding.
And why do we speed? In Chicago, it’s a lot of hurry up and wait, where excessive speed only buys you a longer wait at the next red light or stop sign -- not a quicker trip.
And speeding contributes to an average of 60 car crashes per day (11 of which involve hitting people on foot and bikes) with injuries and fatalities. And that’s just in Chicago. Speeding is also a problem in the suburbs.
The first Chicago speed cameras are located in four city park locations -- recreation zones that should be extra safe. The city is currently issuing warnings before tickets of $35 (6-10 mph over the speed limit) and $100 (11 mph or more over) begin October 21.
All the more reason to slow down Chicago! And make our streets and sidewalks safer places to get around.