• Jan 8th 2010 at 9:00AM
  • 36
Speed cameras are at best a dubious safety enhancement sold on the premise of slowing traffic, while the more important proposition is often the promise of the revenue they can generate. Arizona residents have mostly cut through the bovine feculence around the state's big camera deployment program, one that's been described as groundbreaking. The state installed 76 one-eyed bandits, but profits are lower than projected, and some citizens want the cameras gone.

Further sabotaging the camera initiative are citizens who have taken to ignoring the automated citations in large numbers. A loophole surrounding mailed tickets is allowing many drivers to motor on with impunity, while an anti-camera group is trying to get a ballot measure to ban the cameras underway. The 700,000 tickets that have been issued since September 2008 should have meant $127 million into the coffers, but only $36 million has been collected. At that level, it's not even clear if Redflex, the public scourge firm that runs the cameras, is able to break even.

[Source: New York Times | Photo: Redflex]


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  • 36 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is no suprise to me. Taking the "human" element out of monitoring the freeways and roads does not make anyone safer and just throws more money into a hole... case in point, the TSA... lots of tech, not lots of smarts. It's rediculous and just another nail in the coffin of a person can beat a machine because logic does not always win.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Make speed limits reasonable and most people won't exceed them.

      Any official who calls for automated speed limit enforcement should be removed from office. Either they're corrupt or kowtowing to a political minority at the direct expense of the public. Bad government must not be tolerated.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Not around here they don't.

        The speed limit on a local stretch of highway was raised from 55 to 65 within the last year. When it was 55, people tended to drive about 65-70.

        Now that it's 65, I can drive at 75 and get passed routinely, all that changed was the speed limit. Saw the same thing happen several years back when they raised the Interstate speed limit form 65 to 75 around here. Now going 85+ is considered normal. Again, nothing changed but the speed limit.

        Too me, it seems that if people aren't going at least 10 over the speed limit, they feel like they are going too slow. I've not seen a speed limit yet in which that's hasn't been the case.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's about time we got rid of these things. The only thing they do, as far as speed limit enforcement, is cause people who aren't paying attention to slam on their brakes and nearly cause accidents. Napalitano is an idiot for putting these up, and for alot of other reasons as well haha. But yeah it's about time these came down, complete BS.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Simply vote the rascals out.
        Including the congresspeople and state and local legislators and elected judges that allow these scourges.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I totally agree with the sentiment, but how are police running radar enforcement any different? I reflexively hit my brakes when I see them (who doesn't?). And, if there isn't a real difference, why aren't we all calling for them to be banned as well?

        In other words, if an officer radars and catches someone speeding and issues a ticket, why not automate that - which is what these cameras essentially do.

        Again, I don't like them either - and the idea of automated law enforcement worries me because it takes discretion out of it - but I just don't see how someone can argue against one and not the other. And, if you're arguing against cops radar enforcing the limit, then why do we have speed "limits" at all? .... Which may be the actual point.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Also, unless you are served the ticket in person, it's not official. If you get a ticket/citation in the mail, totally ignore it, do not respond to it at all. They cannot prove you received it in the mail, thus they cannot fine you for not paying it. If you are not served a ticket by an official in person within the next 3 months, odds are you've gotten out of paying the fine.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yup, and since they are run by a private company, not paying the ticket is not illegal. Your license cannot be suspended (unless they can PROVE that you were the one driving, hence the monkey mask by some), and it just causes more headaches than it's worth.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Having just been out in the east valley recently, my impression is that all these speed cameras do is cause backups. Traffic seems to move pretty effortlessly (even at rush hour, which, being from NJ, completely bewildered me) on the 10; but it consistently backs up at the cameras as people even traveling below the speed limit slow down in fear that they'll get a ticket.

      Take them down.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Or... adjust the speed limits accordingly, and keep them around to catch those drivers who are being dangerously fast.
      invisiblepigeon3
      • 5 Years Ago
      Big brother can kiss my ass and eat my Lexus's dust. I would never slow down for a camera while people drive junkers with smoke pouring out of them and tailpipes dragging, cutting me off, driving like morons on cell phones.

      Speeding safely is the smallest problem the cops could worry about. They need to stop wasting money on cameras and BS and go solve a real crime.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have lived in AZ, for 38 of my 45 years.

      The unmanned camera system is a sham. Our "fine" ex governor finally admitted that the camaras had absolutally nothing to do with safety, and that their entire reason for being, was revenue generation. To prove her point, she made any tickets received and paid, non point generating tickets. In other words, you do not get points against your license for getting them.

      That a private company, with little to no oversight, and little to no regulation (due to complete immunity), can run this system, is the ultimate insult. Unlike a regular speeding ticket, where an officer hands it to you, there is no way to call the machine into question for calibration............. there is not discression.............. and many mistakes are made.

      If my truck were to be ticketed, it would go against my husband, because he is on the title. Yet, it would be me driving.

      Finally, we never have to worry about controls in our vehicles that always follow the law. States would lose way to much revenue. There is too big of an industry derived around highway patrol. If all of the law breakers couldn't break the law any longer, police officers would be laid off, court employees would be laid off, DMV employees would be laid off, there would be less doctors and hospitals necessary, and there would be less lawyers.

      Thus, much like making drugs legal (which I completely support, even though I have never used or tried, any illegal drug of any sort).................. it will never happen.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Take them down, lay them out, and run over them with a tracked vehicle or streamroller.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Once we eventually (hurry up) and get cars that will know and obey the speed limit they are under for the given stretch of road, these cameras will not be needed.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't want some device in my car telling me how fast I can go. If I didn't want to determine things like that for myself, I wouldn't drive. Why not also have mandatory automatic braking and have GPS autopilot? I don't care what the speed limit is, I'll drive the speed that I'm comfortable at. No machine is going to be able to judge that as well as the driver.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You can already get one. It's called a bus ticket.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I lived in Scottsdale near Phoenix that had the highway that had speed cameras at every exit. They were pointless, everyone would slam on there breaks right before the cameras. So, all they did was cause people rear ending people.
      • 5 Years Ago
      These are wrong, but not for the reasons listed above. There's overstating the case, then there's telling fairytales.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Why then Rich, oh all-knowing great poo-bah of road safety?

        Yeah. So, "big brother", kinda. These are not triggered still cameras. They're *video* feeds. Although they're not *currently* recorded for any length of time like a typical CCTV system, they *could* be legally through some quiet amendment. Either way, you're on camera even when you're legal.

        Second, they only monitor speeds at one place. Everyone slows down to 5 below the limit when they see the "Traffic cameras in operation" sign (or whatever the wording is), and speeds up again when they're past the trap.

        Third, a camera isn't going to *escort* you to the hospital so your wife can have that baby. Plus, you take away real cops, and you have less monitoring of *other* traffic violations common in AZ, like hauling unsafe loads, rapid lane switching, and so on.

        Fourth, the speed limits are no longer the result of safety investigations. You guessed it, they're set so that revenue can be collected from speed tickets.

        Stick to the real reasons, not stuff like "traffic backs up" and "people slam on the brakes causing accidents".
      • 5 Years Ago
      Used extensively in Germany both on highways and within city limits (where the speed limit is 50 kph). I have to agree with the comments as applied to fixed cameras on highways. The more troublesome ones are those that are mobile, especially on the Autobahns where the urge to "fly" is greatest. Haven't been nailed yet...the fines are high and the dollar sucks in exchange for Euros! Thank you Navigon for at least identifying the fixed speed cameras in Europe.
      • 5 Years Ago
      HOW ABOUT THIS: OBEY THE LAW AND DO NOT SPEED? BECAUSE YOU WANNA BREAK THE LAW, IT IS OK WITH YOU, YOU JUST DO NOT WANNA BE CAUGHT?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Monte, absolutely infantile and self-serving comment, not to mention a waste of electrons. Go back to your parent's basement unless you have something intelligent and substantial to add to this discussion.

        My issues with automated speed control:

        1) I prefer confronting my accuser, a useful event for later court use.
        2) The idea of putting ANY law enforcement in the hands of a private company bothers me.
        3) Money from a civil fine being split up between a government agency and a private entity? I smell corruption.
        • 5 Years Ago
        How did you end up on Autoblog anyway? Either you are not American, or just don't understand what freedom is. Some folks can't handle freedom and that's fine, so Canada might be a good option for you.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Rick C, confronting your accuser in court is a constitutional right.
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