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New Speed Law Places More Cameras Around Schools

drawn by Tim Bowmans

The concept of having more speed cameras in “safety zones” is not necessarily a bad idea. Starting July 1, the city is going to place cameras within one-eighth of a mile of a school or park that will photograph speeding cars. A person driving 6 to 10 mph more than the limit will be fined $50, and $100 for going above 10 mph.

The real issue here is that people are speeding in general. Drivers underestimate the time it takes to stop a speeding automobile, which can cause accidents. Ideally a driver should not have to speed, but we don’t live in that kind of society. We live in a society where every minute is crucial, where driving an extra 5 mph will determine whether or not you catch the light that saves you from tardiness at (insert your chosen destination here).

All hopes aside for a less rushed and hurried society, a problem is that a lot of schools are in major traffic areas. The notification that a driver is entering a safety zone will be represented by a small white sign stating that they are entering a school zone, but where is the notification that the area is camera enforced? Also, a declaration of the speed limit on the sign would be nice addition, as well as a notification that a driver is leaving a safety zone. This way the driver can better understand and navigate their surroundings. While the city claims that all safety zones will be marked with signs, officials do not state whether or not a safety zone will have another sign indicating the zone exit. This is a problem. A better-educated driver makes for a more aware driver.

While for the first 30 days of camera enforced safety zones only warnings will be given, the kick is that first offence will be a warning. However, the city plans to post maps of where all the cameras are placed. Sure, a driver could therefore avoid the zone altogether, but let’s be realistic. A driver in a hurry is not going to drive out of their way just to avoid a safety zone. More importantly, these maps will indicate where cameras are not located.

Sadly, these camera-enforced zones look like the continued ploy by the mayor and city officials to raise money and pay their way out of debt, shielding their moneymaking scheme behind the safety of children and pedestrians. Instead of letting a machine “watch” over irresponsible drivers, the city should hire more police officers. Not only will it increase jobs, but these officers can patrol these high traffic safety zones and actually enforce the speed limit with real human interactions rather than an impersonal camera, which will justify the spending on the increased labor.

  • written by jpetersen on January 17th, 2012
  • posted in Edit
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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.