Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed this morning SB965, giving the City of Chicago new authority to use its extensive network of red light running cameras as speed cameras. The law becomes active on July 1, so motorists should be prepared.

This new law, authorities say, has always been for the protection of children and not about revenue. However, the same authorities argue that red light cameras also are only for safety, even while many studies have shown this is not the case. Such studies as a 2008 University of Florida study, or a 2007 Virginia Department of Transportation study that showed "the cameras were associated with an increase in total crashes... The aggregate EB results suggested that this increase was 29%... The cameras were associated with an increase in the frequency of injury crashes... The aggregate EB results suggested an 18% increase, although the point estimates for individual jurisdictions were substantially higher (59%, 79%, or 89% increases) or lower (6% increase or a 5% decrease)."

Even a Traffic Safety Expert working for the National Motorist Association doesn't buy that speed cameras do anything to improve safety and goes beyond that, saying there's no proof the system will work solely to keep children safe.

One guess here is that this will primarily hurt schoolchildren's parents when they're picked up from school or dropped off- especially if they're late and driving just five miles-per-hour over the speed limit. Speeders will be fined $50 for speeding 5-10mph over, or $100 if they're 11mph or faster than the limit.

According to the Expired Meter Blog, a Chicago traffic related blog, the Chicago City Council now must weigh in on the devices, and pass a law to allow them. The Council meets February 15.