Lawmakers have forwarded two measures to Gov. Pat Quinn that would toughen the penalty for excessive speed and ease the chances of being cited for a red-light violation via a camera-ticket, the Breaking News Center reported.
Running red lights and speeding are two of the leading causes of Chicago auto accidents, though red-light cameras have come under increasing fire as little more than a money maker for local governments.
The speeding law would prevent drivers found guilty of going 40 mph or more over the limit from receiving a form of probation, known as court supervision, that allows the violation to be removed from a driver’s record if no other violations occur within a set number of months.
The measure comes after an analysis by the Tribune, which found two-thirds of drivers cited for going 100 mph or faster had received court supervision. The supervision option essentially amounts to diversion, which can keep the violation off a driver’s record, prevent it from being taken into account for future violations and negates the chances of increased insurance premiums and other penalties for excess speed. The proposed law would also give judges the option of jail time for speeders caught driving 30 to 39 mph over the limit.
The measure passed the state legislature by a vote of 105-3. The red-light camera proposal passed with a vote of 80-27-1.
The camera legislation would prohibit municipalities from adding additional fees to the standard $100 fine in cases where the ticket is appealed. The fees have become common as a way to deter motorists from fighting the charges. While drivers would still have to come to a complete stop before making a right turn on red, the measure would allow drivers to stop in front of the painted stop line before making the turn, as long as pedestrians are not present.
Municipalities that utilize the cameras would also be required to review the data in an attempt to reveal who effective the cameras are in reducing car accidents.
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