5/14/2006Illinois Updates Statewide Speed Camera Law
Illinois clarifies a number of points regarding its upcoming freeway photo radar program.
The Illinois General Assembly unanimously adopted updates to its freeway speed camera law earlier this month. The changes clarify how the state's upcoming automated ticketing program will be administered.
One of the new provisions directs between $125 and $250 from each citation into the Transportation Safety Highway Hire-back Fund. This pot of money is then used to give a 50-100 percent hourly pay bonus to police officers who issue more tickets in construction zones. This duty may include sitting in a photo radar van belonging to camera vendor ACS while the machine determines the guilt or innocence of passing motorists. ACS officials are currently on trial for bribing Canadian police officers to secure a lucrative speed camera contract in the city of Edmonton.
The legislation also denies local jurisdictions the use of "home rule" authority to establish their own speed camera program. It also places the burden of proof on the state to show that at least one "worker" was present in the construction zone if the citation is challenged in court. The law does not say that this worker needs to be visible or operating equipment for the ticket to be valid.
Key details for the program remain the same. Anyone photographed in the reduced-speed 45 MPH zone on a freeway will be mailed a $375 ticket for the first offense. The second ticket will cost $1000 and comes with a 90-day license suspension. Drivers will also face higher insurance premiums as points are assessed for each ticket. The first offense raises rates for 4-5 years, while the second offense remains on the record for a minimum of 7 years. Officials have not ruled out placing more than one van on the same freeway, so motorists find $1375 in tickets waiting in the mailbox two weeks after a single highway trip at 55 MPH.
AN ACT concerning vehicles.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly:
Section 5. The Illinois Vehicle Code is amended by changing Section 11-605.1 and adding Section 11-612 as follows:
(625 ILCS 5/11-605.1)
Sec. 11-605.1. Special limit while traveling through a highway construction or maintenance speed zone.
(a) A person may not operate a motor vehicle in a construction or maintenance speed zone at a speed in excess of the posted speed limit.
(b) Nothing in this Chapter prohibits the use of electronic speed-detecting devices within 500 feet of signs within a construction or maintenance speed zone indicating the zone, as defined in this Section, nor shall evidence obtained by use of those devices be inadmissible in any prosecution for speeding, provided the use of the device shall apply only to the enforcement of the speed limit in the construction or maintenance speed zone.
(c) As used in this Section, a "construction or maintenance speed zone" is an area in which the Department, Toll Highway Authority, or local agency has determined that the preexisting established speed limit through a highway construction or maintenance project is greater than is reasonable or safe with respect to the conditions expected to exist in the construction or maintenance speed zone and has posted a lower speed limit with a highway construction or maintenance speed zone special speed limit sign.
Highway construction or maintenance speed zone special speed limit signs shall be of a design approved by the Department. The signs must give proper due warning that a construction or maintenance speed zone is being approached and must indicate the maximum speed limit in effect. The signs also must state the amount of the minimum fine for a violation.
(d) A first violation of this Section is a petty offense with a minimum fine of $250. A second or subsequent violation of this Section is a petty offense with a minimum fine of $750.
(e) If a fine for a violation of this Section is $250 or greater, the person who violated this Section shall be charged an additional $125, which shall be deposited into the Transportation Safety Highway Hire-back Fund in the State treasury, unless (i) the violation occurred on a highway other than an interstate highway and (ii) a county police officer wrote the ticket for the violation, in which case the $125 shall be deposited into that county's Transportation Safety Highway Hire-back Fund. In the case of a second or subsequent violation of this Section, if the fine is $750 or greater, the person who violated this Section shall be charged an additional $250, which shall be deposited into the Transportation Safety Highway Hire-back Fund in the State treasury, unless (i) the violation occurred on a highway other than an interstate highway and (ii) a county police officer wrote the ticket for the violation, in which case the $250 shall be deposited into that county's Transportation Safety Highway Hire-back Fund.
(e-5) The Department of State Police and the local county police department have concurrent jurisdiction over any violation of this Section that occurs on an interstate highway.
(f) The Transportation Safety Highway Hire-back Fund, which was created by Public Act 92-619, shall continue to be a special fund in the State treasury. Subject to appropriation by the General Assembly and approval by the Secretary, the Secretary of Transportation shall use all moneys in the Transportation Safety Highway Hire-back Fund to hire off-duty Department of State Police officers to monitor construction or maintenance zones.
(f-5) Each county shall create a Transportation Safety Highway Hire-back Fund. The county shall use all moneys in its Transportation Safety Highway Hire-back Fund to hire off-duty county police officers to monitor construction or maintenance zones in that county on highways other than interstate highways.
(g) For a second or subsequent violation of this Section within 2 years of the date of the previous violation, the Secretary of State shall suspend the driver's license of the violator for a period of 90 days.
(625 ILCS 5/11-612 new)
Sec. 11-612. Certain systems to record vehicle speeds prohibited. Except as authorized in the Automated Traffic Control Systems in Highway Construction or Maintenance Zones Act, no photographic, video, or other imaging system may be used in this State to record vehicle speeds for the purpose of enforcing any law or ordinance regarding a maximum or minimum speed limit unless a law enforcement officer is present at the scene and witnesses the event. No State or local governmental entity, including a home rule county or municipality, may use such a system in a way that is prohibited by this Section. The regulation of the use of such systems is an exclusive power and function of the State. This Section is a denial and limitation of home rule powers and functions under subsection (h) of Section 6 of Article VII of the Illinois Constitution.
Section 10. The Automated Traffic Control Systems in Highway Construction or Maintenance Zones Act is amended by changing Sections 10 and 30 as follows:
(625 ILCS 7/10)
Sec. 10. Establishment of automated control systems. The Department of State Police may establish an automated traffic control system in any construction or maintenance zone established by the Department of Transportation or the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. An automated traffic control system may operate only during those periods when workers are present in the construction or maintenance zone. In any prosecution based upon evidence obtained through an automated traffic control system established under this Act, the State must prove that one or more workers were present in the construction or maintenance zone when the violation occurred.
(625 ILCS 7/30)
Sec. 30. Requirements for issuance of a citation.
(a) The vehicle, vehicle operator, vehicle registration plate, speed, date, time, and location must be clearly visible on the photograph or other recorded image of the alleged violation.
(b) A Uniform Traffic Citation must be mailed or otherwise delivered to the registered owner of the vehicle. If mailed, the citation must be sent via certified mail within 14 business days of the alleged violation, return receipt requested.
(c) The Uniform Traffic Citation must include:
(1) the name and address of the vehicle owner;
(2) the registration number of the vehicle;
(3) the offense charged;
(4) the time, date, and location of the violation;
(5) the first available court date; and
(6) notice that the basis of the citation is the photograph or recorded image from the automated traffic control system.
(d) The Uniform Traffic Citation issued to the violator must be accompanied by a written document that lists the violator's rights and obligations and explains how the violator can elect to proceed by either paying the fine or challenging the issuance of the Uniform Traffic Citation.