Chicago School Zone Speed Cams Tag Drivers Even In The Summer, Because Chicago

from the gimmie-gimmie-gimmie dept

Well, this is fun. We just recently wrote about how Chicago's speed cameras, ostensibly all to do with safety, failed to bring in as much money as Mayor Rahm Emanuel had suggested in his budget plan. Yes, tickets based on speed cameras were worked into the budget numbers, which is a strange thing to do if they're supposed to be about safety and not money. Safe driving, in other words, should not trigger a budget crisis. But it turns out the ticketing revenue might still be inflated, even at the crisis number, as a bunch of speeding tickets were generated by cameras within school zones flagging drivers for driving over the school zone limit in the summertime.

Kenneth Maschek, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in circuit court Friday, says he was issued a $100 fine for speeding near Lane Tech College Prep High School on June 26, 2014. A speed camera, or Automated Speed Enforcement system, captured alleged violation, but the school year ended on June 10, Maschek claims. His was one of more than 34,000 violations that Chicago issued over summer break this year, from July 1 to September 1, according to the lawsuit. Maschek says the law is meant to keep the areas around schools, statutorily defined as one-eighth of a mile, safe for the children attending them.
We appear to be doubling up on claiming that revenue-generating laws are all about safety. In this case, speed cameras ticketed drivers for driving over limits intended to protect children when there were no children present. In case you were wondering, state law specifically prohibits issuing citations for driving over school zone limits except on "school days." This resulted in millions in revenue that never should have been generated.
The city's website states that school safety zones are in effect from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on school days, reducing speed to 20 mph until 4 p.m. and 30 mph after that. Maschek who cites the page and related press releases in his lawsuit, notes that signs posted near the zones also say the speed reduction applies "on school days when children are present." Residents of Chicago "routinely drive through school safety zones on an ongoing basis," leaving them constantly vulnerable to speeding tickets when the reduced speed should not be in effect, the complaint states.
I expect that the city will mumble something about summer school and blah blah blah, because that's what we do in my home city. When confronted with a clear mistake or inequity, we look it straight in the eye and pretend it doesn't exist. It's sort of a municipal past time around these parts. Hopefully the courts will see through any push back. Either way, the claim that speed cameras have anything to do with safety should be over and done with.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2014 @ 3:30pm

    In places that are serious about safety (like parts of California), cars entering a school speed zone have to pass under a structural "bridge" across the road with multiple warning signs and bright flashing lights all the way across, making it impossible for drivers not to see or notice the speed zone they're entering. But no doubt this kind of system A.) costs extra money to build and B.) reduces ticket revenue.

    Which makes it understandable that most cities prefer to "protect" student's lives with a small obscure sign (without flashing lights) on only one side of the road, so people passing a slow-moving bus or truck might never even see it, and will end up getting drafted into helping the city and police department balance its budget.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Nov 2014 @ 2:17am

      Re:

      The sane system around here, in Pennsylvania of all places is that they have a 15 that lights up on an overhead sign when school zone times are active.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Deputy Dickwad (profile), 13 Nov 2014 @ 3:31pm

    Hey all you whiny fuk-tards!

    I'm no snot-sucking-leech of a lawyer, but it is my job to ENFORCE THE LAW!

    And when the freaking law reads "SCHOOL DAYS" "WHEN CHILDREN ARE PRESENT"

    It does not specify that the school has to be open, or that that is where the kids need to be. So SUCK IT citizen!

    Now let's talk about that large amount of cash you have in your walley you little green-tree-hanging, energy drink swilling piggybank!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2014 @ 3:42pm

    Not Unique to Chicago

    Same sort of July based ticket in Renton Washington. Photo radar clocking me at a vicious 34 in a 20. I'm sure it happens all over.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Scote, 13 Nov 2014 @ 4:26pm

    I think there is case law in California to the same efffect, that is, children need not be present for the children present for the speed limits to be in effect - which is stupid. If that's going to be the law then the signs need to just say "25 MPH Speed Limit," period. Otherwise it strikes me as government sanctioned fraud.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2014 @ 4:37pm

    Near every where I go, if school is at starting hour or letting out, there are flashing lights to let you know to obey the slower speed limit. I would make the guess they were not on at the time of the ticket.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Nov 2014 @ 8:04am

      Re:

      ...there are flashing lights to let you know to obey the slower speed limit...


      I've seen these too. I've also seen them active on holidays when schools are closed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Color me gone, 13 Nov 2014 @ 5:57pm

    everything is a scam, sting, theft by so-called authorities

    I gave it all up... Priced out of the market via various scams re: asset forfeiture laws, tickets, parking, excuses to stop, search and seize, Yada Yada ... Stopped flying years before 911 (can' comment too much about else hauled off to a secret court)). Yes, major lifestyle adjustment (moved and changed work, etc), but worth it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2014 @ 9:20pm

    Do children in summer school not need to be able to walk and cross the street safely?

    How is summer school an invalid defense?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      AJ, 14 Nov 2014 @ 8:22am

      Re:

      I would argue two reasons.

      1. if it's a school that's running year around, then they should just change speed limit.
      2. What about night classes? Afterschool events? Detention? Shit man, I don't have any kids, how the hell am i supposed to know when schools in or not? If they don't have a flashing light, or some kind of easy indicator it's all guess work.

      When this light is blinking, speed limit is 25mph. If they can't do that, then I just might run your little trophy's over...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    CharlieBrown, 13 Nov 2014 @ 9:45pm

    Broken Spped Camera

    There was a speed camera outside a school a short way from here. It was broken and thought that the speed limit was 40km/hr at all times of the day and if you weren't doing exactly 40km/hr, it would take your picture.

    To the extent it took a picture of a parked truck!

    The truck owner got a fine, took it to court and won, including court costs and reimbursement for losing a day's work for appearing in court! That speed camera is no longer there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 13 Nov 2014 @ 10:44pm

    Danger prevention

    Personally, I find nothing wrong with issuing tickets during school holidays since the purpose of the ticketing is not to punish drivers who are running over children but to prevent them from doing so. The preventive effect does not set in before the citation is in the mail, and they might not exceed the limit every>time.

    Of course, when the signs restrict the limit to school time, that's it. Or if

    In case you were wondering, state law specifically prohibits issuing citations for driving over school zone limits except on "school days.

    that's also it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Nov 2014 @ 5:40am

    Of course!

    Fleecing motorists = easy money!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Nov 2014 @ 7:27am

    Wonder how many tickets were issued on Saturdays and Sundays?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Nov 2014 @ 10:36am

    Chicago: Not only ticketing for speed...

    Someone I know got a red-light ticket for making a right turn - on a green right turn arrow (which was clearly shown on the cam photos).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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