by Michelle Stenzel
The ordinance allowing speed cameras to be placed near schools and parks to improve safety passed last week, and we're thankful that Alderman Michele Smith voted in favor of it. In her newsletter explaining the basis for her decision, she includes a link to a report with data on traffic crashes provided by CDOT (link directly to PDF download is here) to help the city council members make their decision.
The report makes for some shocking reading, and provides strong support for why the city needs to take more steps to make our streets safer.
One section that really jumped out at me involved the number of crashes involving speed. According the the report, over the time period of 2005 to 2010, there were 90,808 crashes in the city of Chicago in which speed was determined to be a factor. Specifically, the crash reports included speeding-related codes like exceeding the authorized speed limit, exceeding safe speed for conditions or failure to reduce speed to avoid crash.
To translate those numbers, 90,808 crashes over five years means 50 crashes each and every day in Chicago in which drivers were speeding.
Just in our 43rd ward alone, there were 11-12 crashes per week involving speeding motor vehicles during the five year period.
Hopefully, together with education and street design changes, the enforcement aspect of the presence of speed cameras will help to calm the streets and reduce the carnage over the next few years.
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