What you need to know: Chicago will begin issuing tickets to motorists going 6 mph over the speed limit

The city of Chicago will begin issuing tickets to motorists who are speeding six to 10 mph over the speed limit in Automated Speed Enforcement zones starting Monday.

Fines will start at $35 for going 6 mph over the speed limit.

According to data released by the city, fatal crashes involving people in motor vehicles increased from 52 to 92 in 2020, which is a 77% increase.

The city says these deaths "reflect a national trend and have occurred at a time when, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer cars are on the road and traffic data shows cars are driving 9% faster on average." 


City officials say the goal is not to issue tickets, but rather to encourage safer driving behavior. Officials also hope to discourage speeding that is correlated with more severe injuries and deaths in traffic crashes. 

Below is a compiled list of frequently asked questions about Chicago's Automated Speed Enforcement zones.

How does the automated safety camera system work?

The automated camera system identifies vehicles traveling within the enforcement zone at a rate of speed higher than the posted speed limit. Still and video cameras capture the event, including the license plate of the speeding vehicle.

Two still images are produced.  The first image is the vehicle driving in excess of the speed limit as it enters the safety zone. The second image includes the distance and time the vehicle has traveled.  The license plate is recorded from a close-up of one of the images.  In addition, a high-definition video clip of the event is provided. 

What are the Safety Zone times and speed limits?

According to the City of Chicago's website, school zones are active on school days, Monday through Friday.

  • 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.: The speed limit is 20 mph when children are present.
  • 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.: The speed limit is whatever is posted, which is usually 30 mph.

Park Safety Zones are typically enforced from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Cameras enforce posted speed limits, which are typically 30 mph.

Is there a warning period?

Violations recorded within the first 30 days of a speed camera's installation will receive warning notices only. Each registered license plate will also receive an additional warning notice the first time it violates the speed limit in a Speed Safety Zone.

Where are cameras located?

A list of locations can be found here.

Additionally, the city lists locations on the Chicago Traffic Tracker website.

How much is a ticket?

The fine is $35 for travelling 6-10 mph over the applicable speed limit within a Children’s Safety Zone.  

The fine is $100 if the recorded speed of the vehicle is 11 or more MPH over the applicable speed limit.

Can you contest an Automated Speed Enforcement violation?

The registered vehicle owner can request a hearing to challenge a citation. You will have 21 days from the date of the issuance of the citation to contest it. You can then either contest the violation by mail or in person.  

If no response is received, either in the form of payment or a hearing request, a Notice of Determination is sent to the vehicle owner stating that he or she has been found liable by default.  

The vehicle owner will then have to appear in person if they wish to petition to set aside the default Determination.

This option must be exercised within 21 days of the date of the Date of Determination.

Once the 21 days have elapsed, the opportunity to contest has expired.

A Notice of Final Determination is mailed informing the vehicle owner that their options to challenge the ticket have been forfeited. A penalty that can be equal to the fine amount is assessed once the ticket reaches Final Determination status. 

For more information, click here.

What defenses are allowed for most speeding tickets?

  • The respondent was not the owner or lessee of the cited vehicle at the time of the violation;
  • The citied vehicle or its state registration plates (license plates) were stolen at the time of the violation;
  • The facts alleged in the speeding violation notice are inconsistent or do not support a finding that the specified regulation was violated;
  • The operator of the vehicle was issued a Uniform Traffic Citation for a speeding violation occurring within one-eighth of a mile and 15 minutes of the violation that was recorded by the system;
  • The vehicle was an authorized emergency vehicle.

For more information, visit the city of Chicago's website.