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Chicago Installing Speed Cameras ... Should You Worry?

Earlier this week, speed cameras were installed at four locations in the Chicago area. If Mayor Rahm Emanuel has his way, they will soon be joined by dozens of others, all for the sake of keeping drivers off the gas in school zones.

Citing a need to reduce pedestrian accidents, especially those involving children, Mayor Emanuel convinced the city counsel to authorize the cameras earlier this year. The first batch, installed temporarily as part of a pilot program, went up earlier this week, reports NBC Chicago.

Don't expect them on every street corner in the near future, however. According to the Chicago Tribune, a 38-year-old opinion by the Illinois attorney general caused a major holdup in the vendors' bidding process and presents a huge problem for existing technology. The opinion requires that children must be "visibly present" before a ticket can be handed out.

For the vendors, that means their cameras must not only catch the person speeding through a school zone or near a park, but the camera must also capture a picture of a child the area as well, preferably in the same photo. This unique requirement could mean special, more advanced cameras could come into play. Another possibility cited by the Tribune is having humans review each photo.

The latter option would likely require so many man hours that the cost of tickets would have to increase or the entire operation would become either revenue neutral, or even worse, cost the city money.

The cameras that went up earlier this week were for testing purposes only, meaning no tickets will be handed out. If and when working cameras are developed and installed, the fines are expected to be $35 for 6 to 10 mph over the speed limit and $100 for 10 mph or more, according to NBC.

For those caught by the cameras, the best defense might be the "where's the children?" question. Unless the speed limit law is changed, the school zone limit only applies when kids are present. If the camera doesn't find a picture of a pedestrian that is definitely a child (as opposed to a really short adult), you may not be in violation of the law.

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