As of today, marked white photo radar vans are ticketing motorists on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago, Illinois. The program represents the only statewide use of freeway speed cameras in the United States. Next week, a second van will begin operating on the Tollway while a third will operate downstate. Planned locations for the van include construction zones on I-64 in St. Clair, I-57 in Williamson County, and I-74 in Champaign. The Illinois State Police has been testing the system for the past two months.
Currently, only two cities -- Scottsdale, Arizona and Washington, DC -- operate photo radar on freeways. Scottsdale's program has generated nearly $3 million at a rate of $42,000 in tickets every day.
Illinois stands to make far more as the state's maximum fine is five times greater than Scottsdale's. A first offense runs $375 and a second costs $1000 with a 90-day license suspension. License demerit points will raise the insurance rates of the vehicle owner for 4-7 years. Under a measure signed into law last week, the tickets will only be issued in a work zone with at least one worker present. Although the state has suggested the speed camera program is intended to cut work zone deaths, evidence shows that only 15 percent of freeway construction zone injuries are caused by automobiles. A far greater number of workers are injured by construction equipment.
Illinois State Police officers will sit inside the vans belonging to Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) while the machine generates tickets. ACS officials are currently on trial for bribing Canadian police officers to secure a lucrative speed camera contract in the city of Edmonton. Illinois will pay the company $2950 per month per van as well as a $15 bonus for every ticket the company is able to generate.