4/5/2006Illinois Prepares Freeway Ticket Vans
Speed cameras will trap motorists on Illinois freeways beginning in May.
Roving vans will issue automated speeding tickets of up to $1000 on Illinois freeways, including the Illinois Tollway, by the end of May. The Illinois Department of Transportation and state police have finalized arrangements with Dallas-based camera vendor ACS, a company the Alberta, Canada Department of Justice has charged with bribery for its speed camera dealings in Edmonton.
Currently, only two other jurisdictions trap motorists on highways, which have the lowest fatality rates of any type of road. Scottsdale, Arizona has made nearly $1 million since mid-February with its fixed camera program. The District of Columbia also uses mobile speed cameras on Interstate 295.
The Illinois vans will travel the state and only be used in "work zones" where the speed limit has been lowered to 45 MPH. The state will collect $375 for the first offense and $1000 for the second and issue license demerit points allowing insurance companies to raise rates. A second ticket also comes with a 90-day driving ban. ACS will receive $2,950 per month for each van and a $15 bounty for each ticket the company issues.
"Speeding, impatience, and driver inattention are the leading factors in work zone crashes," said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Jack Hartman. "So we need drivers to slow down and stay alert in work zones for their own safety as well as our workers."
According to a 2001 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, automobiles accounted for only 15 percent of highway construction accidents involving an injury.Trucks were the primary cause of injury in 45 percent of cases and road grading and surfacing equipment caused 15 percent of injuries. Construction machines caused 53 percent of fatalities and trucks caused 26 percent. (View full study, 436k PDF format.)