Will speed cameras lower traffic accidents in Illinois?
Illinois currently has a speed camera law that does not allow municipalities with fewer than 1 million residents to install cameras. According to BND, Chicago is the only city in the state that can use them under this legislation. State Rep. Jay Hoffman recently filed a bill that seeks to expand the law and give local governments the option to install speed cameras in their districts.
Hoffman indicated that many school organizations have expressed an interest in using speed cameras as a safety measure for areas around schools with a high concentration of children pedestrians. Any Illinois traffic accident attorney knows that the state already allows automated speed enforcement for increased safety in construction zones and on Illinois Toll Authority roads.
Dangers at low speeds
Federal, state and local governments typically work with traffic engineers to calculate ideal maximum speeds. Posted limits are determined based on factors such as the amount of traffic and the type of roadway. A car crash may kill a pedestrian even at low speeds. When a person enters a crosswalk, a vehicle 45 feet away traveling at 30 miles per hour could come to a complete stop. Adding 5 miles per hour to the same scenario, the vehicle would still be moving at a speed, which could severely injure or kill the person in the crosswalk.
Speed-related crashes are often associated with the higher posted limits on tollways and interstates. However, in 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that local roads with speed limits below 40 miles per hour saw the highest number of speed-related fatalities.
Arguments and research
Not everyone is convinced that broadening the scope of speed camera use in Illinois will have the desired result. Some detractors have stated that the machines are merely revenue generators for private companies. Hoffman’s bill addresses this issue by directing all revenue toward public safety initiatives and local infrastructure.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety points to more than a decade of research that indicates automatic enforcement of speed limits is effective in reducing overall speeds, accidents, injuries, and fatalities. As of January 2015, speed cameras are used in more than 130 communities in the United States. These programs have also demonstrated a reduction in speeds and crashes.
When an individual is the victim of a speed-related accident, there may be compensation available to help cover the costs of medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering. An Illinois traffic accident attorney may be able to provide legal advice on the best way to proceed.