Earlier this year, the Chicago City Council and the Illinois Legislature gave the go ahead to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to pepper the City of Chicago with speed cameras that would cover school safety zones and start generating tickets to people caught speeding. The plan was to start sending out $100 tickets by early next year. However, a quirk in Illinois law has put the brakes on Mayor Emanuel's ambitious plans. Turns out that an opinion from the Illinois Attorney General from 38 years ago requires that children be "visibly present" in order for tickets for speeding in a school safety zone can be issued. This means that the picture of the vehicle speeding must also include a picture of a child present. This has presented a technical challenge which has placed the entire plan to implement the program in jeopardy. There's also an obvious legal challenge. If a speeding ticket in a school zone is issued by one of these cameras and does not include proof that a child was present, a criminal defense attorney could raise this 38 year old legal opinion from the Illinois Attorney General as a way of getting the ticket dismissed in court. The technical challenge is to be able to come up with a way for a camera to recreate what a police officer can see and testify to. There currently is no such camera in existence which could accomplish this. If such a camera or system could be developed, it must be developed in such a way that it is cost effective and worth it to the company providing the service to the City. And here's another problem which I have though of. Even if another camera is set up to photograph pedestrians or humans, how could you tell from the camera that the individual is a child and not an adult? The technical and legal problems have placed the entire plan in jeopardy. My prediction is that Mayor Emanuel will convince the Illinois General Assembly to change the law so as to remove the legal challenges and alleviating the need for any technical challenges. There's too much money at stake.
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