Speed cameras weren’t the only traffic safety issue the Chicago City Council addressed on Wednesday.
Councilmembers also approved an ordinance that will allow police to seize vehicles they believe have been involved in drag racing, drifting or other types of illegal stunts, even if the owner is not present.
The new law comes after footage of drivers going around in circles as crowds surrounded them went viral, allegedly from last weekend at a West Loop intersection.
Main Sponsor Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42, nodded to that video in comments before the unanimous vote, saying there must be “consequences.”
“This has gotten out of control, and it’s not about fining people and taking their cars. It’s about safety,” Reilly said. “Our hope is that with aggressive application up front, we can make some high-profile examples.”
Reily noted in committee earlier this week that some illegal stunts draw onlookers who film the cars and light gasoline fires in the streets, calling it “an absolute recipe for disaster.”
Lightfoot also spoke about the ordinance, which he supported and also appeared to link to his speed camera ticket policy.
“It’s the same problem on the spectrum with people speeding and driving recklessly,” the mayor said. “These are extraordinarily dangerous, dangerous events.”
Separately on Wednesday, councilors by 18 to 26 votes rejected a proposal to reset the minimum for a speed camera ticket to 10 mph over the limit. The result means drivers can still get tickets for going as little as 6 mph over the posted speed.
In something of a coincidence, if not irony, Lightfoot also this week announced with much fanfare that Chicago to Host NASCAR’s First Street Race next year.