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Arizona Backs Off Its Speed Camera Program 513

Posted by kdawson
from the not-so-fast dept.
crimeandpunishment writes to inform us that Arizona is putting the brakes to a controversial and contentious speed camera program. The cameras have been used along highways in the Phoenix area and in vans throughout the state. While the cameras are used throughout the country, Arizona's program was the widest use of the technology, and the decision to drop it is a setback for those who argue that the cameras slow speeders, reduce accidents, and free up police for more serious matters. "The camera program was instituted by Brewer's predecessor, Janet Napolitano, now the Homeland Security secretary. Cameras were introduced in September 2008 and were added until all 76 were up and running by January 2009. Lawmakers considered repeal proposals within months, but set the issue aside and appealed for calmer debate when a passing motorist fatally shot a camera-van operator doing paperwork in his marked vehicle in April 2009."
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Arizona Backs Off Its Speed Camera Program

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  • Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheMeuge (645043) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:58AM (#32125092)

    We're not the UK yet, we don't need this crap here.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chrisq (894406)
      I actually prefer speed cameras to speed bumps, at least they don't damage the cars. In the UK they now have to be bright yellow and can't be hidden - this change has made me a lot happier about them.
    • I don't get it. You speed, you're break the law, plain and simple. This ain't a pretty please with sugar on top think of the children type thing. One thing I hear a lot from people being stopped is "don't you have better things to do than to stop me speeding?" With a camera in place, these police officers need not be keeping the roads safe when any normal person can regulate speed perfectly well themselves.

      Gatsometers have limitations true, but an average speed camera check (pictures taken at say 1 mile int

      • Re:Good? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheMeuge (645043) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:13AM (#32125270)

        There are many laws, and the fact that something is law, doesn't make it gospel. Just because it's on the books, doesn't mean it's right.

        On the highways, away from residential areas, speeding laws are generally solely structured to bring in more income.

        In NY, there are areas where highways have 50mph speed limits... or even 45mph... despite a wide, straight (or nearly so) well-paved road.

        Ultimately, laws are meant to be the projection of the will of the people, moderated by the Constitutional interpretations of the Supreme Court... and we don't want the speed cameras.

        • by jargon82 (996613)
          Or maybe we do, in conjunction with raised speed limits on roads where such things are suitable. That would make me happy.
      • Re:Good? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by demonlapin (527802) on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:35AM (#32125588) Homepage Journal

        You speed, you're break the law, plain and simple.

        When you start following speed limits and making complete stops when you're on duty in a patrol car, I'll start to think that you really believe that law is important. Until then, you're just a meter maid in my book, and I'll treat you as such.

    • by realsilly (186931)

      Apparently we do, it people are crazy enough to shoot a man in a traffic camera van.

  • It's because of all those monkey drivers [wordpress.com].
  • Too Bad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by antirelic (1030688)

    I like the idea of strict enforcement, I hate the currently implemented use of selective enforcement which has lead state and local governments to utilize "speed enforcement" as a revenue generation racket. This was made very clear and apparent in the state of Virginia which, in 2006 implemented "Civil Remedial" fees in order to help fill short gaps in the state budget. This is a very nasty habit state governments have gotten into in order to avoid increasing taxes.

    Strict enforcement will cause a public bac

  • by guruevi (827432) <(eb.ebucgnikoms) (ta) (ive)> on Friday May 07, 2010 @09:18AM (#32125342) Homepage

    They don't do anything to slow down speeders. If anything they contribute to accidents and traffic problems since speeders will slam on their brakes when they see one.

    In Europe, speeding camera's are common and it's also common to shoot them, burn them or otherwise vandalize them: http://www.speedcam.co.uk/gatso2.htm [speedcam.co.uk]

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2010 @10:43AM (#32126672)

      No, it's incredibly rare for anyone to vandalise a camera.
      I spend most of my time driving around the UK and I have never seen a vandalised camera.

      Anyway, you should not be worried about radar type speed cameras. The insidious type is the "average speed camera".
      These are linked in with the Automatic Number Plate Recognition system database, and work by calculating your average speed between two points. By doing this they effectively track the movements and location of every car in the country.

  • Speeding tickets are expensive because not all speeders get caught. So if you have a system that catches everybody, the ticket rate should be substantially reduced. A small chance of a large ticket and a guaranteed chance of a small ticket should have similar deterrence rates. Anything more is a money grab.

  • the cities and counties are still free to spam the roads with red-light and speeding cameras. You can't win against these things because there's too much money involved and it's going to private companies who then give half of it to the reelection campaigns of corrupt local officials. Once again, capitalism at it's finest.
  • by bjdevil66 (583941) on Friday May 07, 2010 @12:32PM (#32128640)

    ...act on a ban... and a little side info for you out of staters...

    "Lawmakers considered repeal proposals within months, but set the issue aside and appealed for calmer debate when a passing motorist fatally shot a camera-van operator doing paperwork in his marked vehicle in April 2009.""

    This is NOT why the lawmakers didn't move forward with repealing the plan. It was about money and lobbying - period.

    Background - I'm from Arizona, and I've been helping collect signatures for camerafraud.com and their petition drive to ban ALL photo enforcement in Arizona. I've been following this issue VERY closely, and I've been in touch with multiple legislators - my rep in person multiple times - and here's the short, short version of the real story behind the state legislature's failure to do anything.

    Arizona State Rep. Sam Crump, who adamantly opposes the cameras, authored a House bill to ban the state highway speed cameras. (While other legislative efforts were attempted with amendments to other non-related bills, his was the most prominent and likely to succeed.) It passed out of the Transportation and Infrastructure committee (which Sam sat on) on party lines. (Democrats universally opposed removing them. I'm not 100% sure why Dems were united... One said, "It's scary to drive on the roads." Another from the T&I committee said, "I'm an ER doctor," and went on to describe the "carnage" from accidents. And so on... But in the end, I think all the Democrats did it for political reasons - because the system was Janet Napalitano's brain child (along with Jay Heiler and other Redflex lobbyists pushing her for it), and they don't dare step on her powerful Democrat toes.)

    After his bill passed the T&I and Rules committees, it suddenly stopped moving. I asked Sam why, and he assured me that he'd been promised it'd get a whole House floor vote.

    At about this time, the driver was shot and killed in the van, and politics did get involved somewhat, but both sides claimed that the shooting supported their views. "The man wouldn't have been shot if he wasn't there in the first place with a speed camera," vs., "You see? Our society is falling apart. We NEED this kind of surveillance to discourage criminal activity," etc.

    (Ironically enough, it was human witnesses that followed the shooter after the crime and gave detailed accounts that led to Destories's arrest - NOT all of the 24/7 video being shot by the camera van or any of the other $200,000+ worth of Big Brother-like technology deployed there in the van... Just like the NYC Times Square bomb was thwarted by people just paying attention... but that's another discussion for another time).

    Meanwhile, the cameras were taking hundreds of thousands of pictures. Some were in high speed areas, but the more nefarious cameras were located right at 65 to 55 speed limit change locations (on the 51). Many people who didn't mind the cameras and generally drove safely were suddenly getting $181.50 tickets in the mail, and they were FURIOUS. This anger, combined with a New Times article that let the cat out of the bag about how you could just throw the tickets in the garbage, led to a general revolt against the cameras. As of today, only about 30% of all of the "criminals" were actually paid their photo tickets (the majority just threw the non-legally-binding "Notices of Violation" in the garbage, and forced process servers to chase them down - with only limited success. Many people were challenging the tickets in the state courts, which ultimately were being flooded to the point that you couldn't get a court date for several months for any issues.

    Back at the capital, the state's budget crisis was growing by the day. Billions in annual shortfalls were becoming a reality, and the cameras WERE making some money from the people who actually just paid up. The top GOP man in the House - Speaker Kirk Adams - saw the political problems brewing. They couldn't cut the camera revenue and "let speeders off the hook" while they were cuttin

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