Chicago, IL

Chicago speed cameras issued 2.81 million tickets last year and collected $89 million

Jennifer Geer

It's more citations than Chicago has residents.

(CHICAGO) In Chicago, a speed camera issues a speeding ticket every 11 seconds. A recent investigation released by the Illinois Policy Institute found that Chicago speed cameras issued more tickets than the city's population. At this rate, the city of Chicago is bringing in $250,000 per day in citations.

According to Illinois Policy, the revenue for 2021 totaled $89 million. That is more than double the amount collected from previous years. And out of that $89 million, $55.9 million (almost two-thirds) was collected beginning on March 1, 2021, for going over the speed limit by six to ten mph. Those tickets cost motorists $35. Anything above ten mph brings the fines to $100.

The two top revenue-generating cameras are on the South Side, while the third is on the Northwest Side. Together the three cameras have brought the city $9.6 million in fines.

A big spike in citations came after the threshold was lowered

Before Mayor Lori Lightfoot lowered the threshold for miles above the speed limit to six to ten, 1,178 tickets were issued per day. After March 1, when the limit was lowered, that number jumped to 9,014 per day.

Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) proposed to repeal the lower threshold in September 2021 due to the large spike in citations. However, his attempts at changing the law failed as his motion to force a vote was ruled out of order, and his appeal was denied.

Beale told CBS 2, "We were told during the budget process that the speed light camera was a safety issue, but I bring before you today that there were 150 fatalities – and that is entirely too many – but only one was around a speed light camera," he said. "This has nothing to do with safety. This has everything to do with revenue, revenue, and revenue."

Mayor Lightfoot says it's a public safety issue

Mayor Lightfoot defended her decision to issue speeding tickets for motorists going six mph over the limit, according to this Chicago Tribune article from October 2020, where she stated, "it’s clearly a public safety issue."

“This is about making sure that we keep communities safe,” Lightfoot also said.


You can head over to the Chicago Traffic Tracker website for a map of all the locations where speed cameras can be found around the city.


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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area. New articles published each weekday.

Chicago, IL

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