Analysis: Chicago speed cameras raked in $102 million, issued a ticket every 20 seconds in 2023

CHICAGO — If you’ve fallen victim to a speed camera in Chicago, you’re not alone. According to an analysis from the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI), drivers were hit with $102 million in tickets and fees from automated speed cameras across the city in 2023, with 17 cameras issuing over $1 million in tickets each.

Among those 17 speed cameras, five issued more than $2 million in tickets, with the most expensive one being found at 901 North Clark Street on the Near North Side. IPI found that speed camera issued $2.52 million in tickets in 2023.

Here’s the top 10 list of speed cameras that generated the most tickets in the city in 2023:

*Key: Address (neighborhood) — $ amount of tickets issued

  1. 901 North Clark Street (Rush & Division) — $2.52 million

  2. 2705 West Irving Park Road (Irving Park) — $2.45 million

  3. 445 West 127th Street (West Pullman) — $2.33 million

  4. 536 East Morgan Drive (Washington Park) — $2.09 million

  5. 1215 East 83rd Street (Avalon Park) — $2.05 million

  6. 4949 West Lawrence Avenue (Portage Park) — $1.98 million

  7. 4909 North Cicero Avenue (Albany Park) — $1.88 million

  8. 2900 West Ogden Avenue (North Lawndale) — $1.72 million

  9. 10318 South Indianapolis Avenue (East Side) — $1.51 million

  10. 4124 West Foster Avenue (North Park) — $1.48 million

“Chicago’s cameras have turned out to be a huge cash cow for the city, and despite promises from Mayor Johnson on the campaign trail, they don’t appear to be going away,” said Bryce Hill, director of fiscal and economic research for the Illinois Policy Institute. “Unfortunately, these types of automated ticketing systems disproportionately harm those who can least afford it.”

Deadline approaching for Illinois residents to get a REAL ID

Mayor Brandon Johnson’s 2024 budget banks on residents being issued $348 million in fines and fees from parking, speed camera, red-light camera and other traffic tickets. That’s $46 million more than was budgeted the year prior.

Since speed cameras started operating in 2014, the City of Chicago has issued $879 million in fines through 9,132,409 tickets. When former mayor Lori Lightfoot lowered the ticketing threshold in 2021 to just 6 mph above the speed limit, the ticketing rate doubled, with 5,349,626 of all speed camera tickets issued in the past three years.

1,562,413 speeding tickets were issued in 2023, amounting to about three tickets for every five drivers in the city. When boiled down even further, that’s one ticket being issued about every 20 seconds.

By area of the city, Chicagoans on the North Side bore the brunt of the tickets in 2023, receiving 44% of all tickets issued citywide last year. Motorists on the West Side received the second most speeding tickets at 26%.

Another interesting find from IPI’s analysis, the bulk fine collections benefitted more from late fees than the base rates for fines last year.

According to IPI, late penalties can turn a $35 citation into an $85 fine and a $100 speeding violation into $244 if the payment is late, and those late fees were reflected in the overall totals collected by the city in 2023.

Speed cameras raked in $46.9 million from fines paid on time and an additional $55.4 million from speeding tickets that included a late fee – more than doubling the cost of those tickets.

Mr. Fix It: How to keep cicadas out of your home

Johnson himself hasn’t even escaped falling victim to the city’s automated speeding cameras. His mayoral motorcade racked up $1,640 worth of traffic citations in 2023, with eight tickets coming from speed cameras.

It is unclear if Johnson will still be on the hook for those eight speeding tickets, and a spokesman in Johnson’s office declined a request for comment from the IPI on whether he plans to phase out Chicago speed cameras – and give up over $100 million a year – as promised during his campaign for mayor.

For the Illinois Policy Institute’s full analysis, visit this link:

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WGN-TV.