Local Editorials

Our view: New cameras get red light

The city of Chicago decided to take the next step into the future of automated money grabbing last week by approving the installation of speed cameras on a number of roadways.

Some city aldermen believe the cameras will save lives. We’re skeptical.

What they definitely will do is boost city coffers. Offending motorists will be fined between $35 and $50 for driving in excess of 6 to 10 mph over the speed limit, with $100 fines for drivers who exceed the limit by 11 mph or more.

Since red-light cameras already have reared their ugly heads in McHenry County and other collar counties, we checked in with several towns to see whether speed cameras were being considered at any municipalities here.

We were glad to see that the answer at the moment is “no.” We certainly hope it stays that way.

Speed cameras seem to be little more than a means of removing money from motorists’ wallets faster than the most impatient of motorists drive in the left lane on Interstate 90.

Occasionally, bad ideas in government hang around for years until enough people think they’re good ideas. Here’s hoping this one stays closer to the lakefront.

None of this is to say that speeding and running red lights are safe. On the contrary. We support police who appropriately enforce these and other traffic laws to keep our roads safer.

But there are well-established methods of enforcing traffic laws, and just as importantly fair methods in the judicial system to deal with any discrepancies. The bureaucracy involved with red-light cameras should have taught us that we don’t need another one with speed cameras.

Municipal governments are struggling with revenue, but so are drivers and citizens. Speed cameras are just another way to drive a wedge between them.

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