The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday as part of an exhaustive investigation that as many as 110,000 “questionable” speeding tickets totalling $2.4 million have been issued in the past two years in Chicago as part of a speed-camera program designed to keep kids safe near parks and schools.
…City Hall has systematically ticketed drivers near schools without the legally required evidence of a schoolchild in sight. A Tribune random-sample analysis puts the number of those questionable tickets at about 110,000.
And while it was pitched by the mayor as a way to protect youngsters walking near parks and schools, the most prolific cameras in the 2-year-old “Children’s Safety Zone” initiative can be found along major roadways, where crash data show child pedestrians are least likely to be struck by speeders.
The lengthy report is worth a read.
Among other things, the report found that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s speed camera program issued 22,000 tickets for speeding near parks and another 11,000 tickets near parks that were closed for the night. What’s more, another 28,000 citations “were issued at cameras plagued by problems with warning signs that did not meet the minimum legal requirements.” And at least 62,000 tickets were given during the summer “when school activity is so limited that drivers are left to guess whether school is in session or not.”
The city told the Tribune that it is refunding payments made on 23,000 tickets.
The paper’s speed-camera investigation came a year after it found that at least 13,000 Chicago motorists had been cited with undeserved tickets thanks to malfunctioning red-light cameras.