The Newspaper wrote:Illinois 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.