Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot's official SUVs rack up 8 UNPAID speeding tickets as she advocates stern rules
Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot's motorcade has been busted for several speeding and traffic offenses, but none of the fines, totaling $658, have been paid. The lawmaker has pushed for harsher punishments for drivers who are caught speeding. Since February 2020, Lightfoot's SUVs have been involved in at least eight incidents.
Footage accessed and uncovered by CWB Chicago shows various incidents involving her cars. One video shows two Ford Expedition SUVs racing through a set of red lights. Traffic cameras are seen flashing in their wake. Another video shows a black Chevy SUV making a left turn at a red light at a large intersection. It is unclear if Lightfoot was in the SUVs at the time of the incidents, and she reportedly would not have been driving even if she was.
Lightfoot took over in May 2019 and pushed to lower the 'buffer zone' threshold that speed cameras allow before issuing a citation. While it was 10mph, last year Lightfoot ordered that it be reduced to 6mph. "No one likes speed cameras. I get it," she said last month, according to the Daily Mail. "But this is life or death that we're talking about here, and we've got to step up as a city and address this." She has also highlighted the threat speeding vehicles pose to children near schools.
"It is unconscionable that any City Council member would consider voting to allow for increased speeds near spaces utilized by our children," Lightfoot said. She said last week, "It makes no sense for us to increase the speed around the parks and schools when we know what the horrific consequences are for pedestrians and for other drivers."
Yet in February 2020, one of Lightfoot's vehicles drove past Jones College Prep at 39mph, following which a warning was issued. Again in January 2021, her SUV reportedly drove through a red light at 5:45 am. Her two SUVs sped past Samuel Gompers Park at 39mph, leading to another speed warning. Her motorcade passed Orr Academy High School at 43mph in July of the same year. A speed camera ticket that was issued at the time and is now at $244, remains unpaid.
In October 2021, a $244 ticket and a 'notice of seizure' was issued after one of her cars turned left through a red light. In November of the same year, one of Lightfoot's SUVs received a warning for traveling through Washington Park at 39mph. At the time, she was on her way to a COVID press conference at a children's hospital. In March this year, Lightfoot's SUVs sped past the same location and she subsequently received a $70 fine, which is still unpaid. She sped past Samuel Gompers Park once again last month at 41mph. Her $100 ticket remains unpaid.
It was reported in 2020 that most of the tickets issued to Lightfoot's security team were dismissed by the city of Chicago. Some of the tickets were given at times when she was attending non-city-related events. The Illinois Policy Institute found that Chicago has issued 3.8 million speeding tickets since the threshold was lowered by the mayor last year, generating almost $80 million in revenue for the city.
According to Lightfoot's office, the mayor was not responsible for her drivers and "repeatedly stressed to the Detail traffic safety and that running red lights is never acceptable." Lightfoot's team said that the fines were not paid due to an "administrative process" that was in place to review the fines. "Payment is not collected until that process is concluded," City Hall said. "Individual members of the Mayor's Detail are responsible for payment of tickets incurred while they are driving."