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Latino State News

Chicago Public Schools Chief, Police Superintendent Tout Merits of Automated Speed Enforcement

Legislation would allow City to monitor speeding vehicles near schools and parks in an effort to increase student and pedestrian safety.

Chicago Public School CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy touted today the benefits of Chicago’s proposal to begin automated speed enforcement to monitor speedingvehicles near schools and parks in an effort to increase student and pedestrian safety.

“One-third of Chicago children walk to school each day, and we must do everything we can to ensure they

get there safely,” said CPS CEO Brizard, at a press conference at UIC College Prep High School. “This new legislation will help us take additional steps to reduce reckless driving and enhance school environments so that they are safe for students and staff, which is vital for teaching and learning.”

State legislation currently under consideration would allow Chicago to use existing red-light cameras and mobile units to record vehicle speeds in safety zones located within a ¼ mile of schools and parks—areas with high numbers of pedestrians, especially children.

“We must do everything we can to ensure the safety of our children,” said Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. “Using Automated Speed Enforcement near schools will not only help crack down on dangerous traffic violators who put our children in harm’s way as they travel to and from school, but it can also be a useful tool to utilize in violent crime investigations. This technology is about more than just cameras – it’s about saving lives and preventing injuries.”

Proceeds of the program would support public-safety initiatives and construction/maintenance projects on roads/bridges. Like red-light cameras, speed enforcement will be extensively promoted and highly visible,

including signs at enforcement locations and robust web presence From 2005-2009, more than 84 percent of all Chicago pedestrian crashes occurred within 1/4 –mile of a school or park, according to a Chicago Department of Transportation crash study. During that same time,

there were 861 crashes involving children during school arrival and dismissal times, within 1/4 mile of a school.

A recent analysis of data from seven red-light camera locations confirmed the problem of speeding. At those locations—all within 1/8-mile of a school or park—more than 25 percent (over 360,000) of the nearly 1.5 million vehicles driving during weekday school hours were observed at speeds over the 30 mph speed limit.

Industry studies have shown that reducing vehicle speed can greatly enhance the chances of a pedestrian surviving a crash. At 30 mph, 55 percent of pedestrian survive crashes, but at 40 mph, just 15 percent survive.

Other U.S. municipalities using automated speed enforcement, including Montgomery County, MD and Arizona, have seen significant reductions in pedestrian crashes and fatalities after automated speed enforcement was implemented.