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Arizona is the first state in the U.S. to utilize photo enforcement of traffic laws on state highways. The cameras are paired to radar detectors that snap an image of offending vehicles traveling at 11 mph over the speed limit, and the ticket is then mailed to the home of the registered auto. And not just any old fine, either. We're talking $181.50, so we're sure you can see why Arizona residents aren't too excited about the state's fledgling revenue stream.

After nearly two years with photo enforcement, motorists have begun covering the cameras with Post-it notes, boxes and even silly string. One man reportedly gave a camera a beat-down with a pick ax. A report by the Los Angeles Times claims that only 38 percent of fines have been paid thus far, and the revenue generated from big brother law enforcement is closer to $20 milllion rather than the expected $80 million per year. The report shows that an overwhelming number of ticketed drivers are looking to fight their fines in court, and in some cases the courts are reportedly booked up through 2011. A local judge has even sided with speed camera haters. John Keegan, a judge for the Arrowhead Justice Court, has thrown out all 7,000 violations that he has presided over, saying that the cameras were a violation to constitutional rights.

So after all the trouble these cameras have caused, why haven't they been removed from the road? Arizona law enforcement apparently like the cameras, for one. Lt. Jeff King of the Arizona Department of Public Safety reportedly told the Times that traffic fatalities are down to the lowest point in 15 years as a result of the cameras and tougher drinking and driving laws. All the pressure coming from citizens to get rid of the speed traps could be weighing on politicians, though, as some lawmakers are looking into the possibility of altering the current photo radar system. Governor Jan Brewer is even encouraging legislators to put the speed cameras to a vote in November.

We're guessing if the speed cameras make their way to the ballot, the cameras could well be the biggest reason voters hit the polls this November.

[Source: Los Angeles Times]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Worthy of mention: red light cameras. You'd *think* they'd be set up to catch red-light runners. Not so.

      Intersections with red light cameras are legally allowed to have a minimum 3.5 second yellow light. I was caught at one with a *confirmed* 2.2 second yellow light.

      In 2.2 seconds at 20mph (my recorded speed), you travel nearly 30'. That'd be about the distance between the Stop line and the "line of violation", which is the new fourth line closest to the intersection, curiously absent from the AZ Driver's Manual. You cross "Stop" on green, it changes to yellow while you make the distance to the "line of violation", and changes to red just as you cross. That'll be $300 please.

      Others have challenged the (illegal) 2.2 second yellow light for the same intersection in court, and nothing came of it, so it wasn't worth my while trying the same.

      I try to avoid them, but since then, at all camera monitored intersections, if I'm not in the first three at a left turn, I piss off the people behind me by coming to a stop on a green arrow, so I'm first in the queue for the next turn. That way I know I won't be caught again. I have to. I don't want to lose my license.

      You also know you have to stop twice when turning right on red? Once at the "Stop" line, and again at the "point of violation", i.e. when you're on the crosswalk. Another driver in the snuff movie, err, "defensive" driving class had been fined for stopping only once. Again, after learning that, I never turn right on red. It never felt right anyway.
      • 5 Years Ago
      anyone that stands up to the government for what he belives in is a hero in my book, grow some balls america before your all slaves
      • 5 Years Ago
      The stationary cameras use radar as well, it is activated when you pass over a sensor in the ground. I know a worker in the program that reviews photos and they told me that over half get thrown away, either the picture was of low quality or obstructed. they also told me that if the registration on the vehicle goes to a p.o. box they don't bother sending them, because they would not be able to actually serve you a summons.
      I have a p.o. box and have never received a photo ticket in the mail, even after I knew that I got flashed. My commute was 50 miles from the west side of the valley to the far east side, I drove by 7 cameras going east and 10 going west. After awhile, you know where they are and lower speed accordingly. During rush hour, most of the APS officers are busting people in the HOV lanes as speeds rarely get to 55, never-mind 65. And yet, people still slow down for the cameras even when they are not close to the speed limit. comically so...

      The problem here was that the former Governor was quoted saying that the cameras were a revenue stream, drivers safety probably never entered their thoughts when deciding on implementing this program. The other problem was the disclosure that the cameras actually were video units as well, and the whole privacy issue started to come into play.

      Personally, I have no issue with the cams; I cruise at 72 mph when traffic allows, which is below the camera threshold and not fast enough for real LEOs to care....
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Couple of comments. In one jurisdiction they lengthened the yellow times (per the traffic engineers recommendations) and red light camera tickets went down to almost nothing. Now that town wants to get rid of the cameras. They're not worth it.

      Also all tickets whether for speeding or red lights are about revenue. If you insist on a hearing you do two things: you delay the payment of the fine and you cost the local government money because they have to pay for the judge, bailiff, OT for the officer (if any), even the utilities of the court house. The longer you play it out, the less money the government can make - even if you lose the case.
        • 5 Years Ago
        There is a town near me, that I longer drive in because of the camera's, and I heard there planning on turning them off and might have done so. Because they are causing more accidents from people slamming on their brakes so don't get a ticket, on a 45mph street. I hated driving in the town in the town because of traffic and the camera's gave me excuse to just avoid the place.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The 38% who actually pay the photo radar tickets are the ones who haven't yet realized that they aren't legally binding, or atleast enforced, unless served in person. The interesting thing is that some of the fixed photo radar systems installed in the greater Phoenix valley are actually sponsored/ owned by cities outside of where they're installed. What I'd like to know is how I get in on the action! To be fair, they have somewhat curtailed excessive speeding within 200 meters in either direction of the respective speedtraps... yet another example of government efficiency.
      • 5 Years Ago
      $181 for 11mph over? That sounds very inexpensive to this California resident.

      The best approach for dealing with photo radar tickets is to simply ignore them. At least in the state of California you need to sign a ticket stating that you agree to appear in court. Without that signature the court can't press the case against you if you don't show up.

      I have ignored two tickets since they started using the photo radar tech here.

      • 5 Years Ago
      "By the time Skynet became self-aware it had spread into millions of computer servers across the planet. Ordinary computers in office buildings, dorm rooms; everywhere..."
      • 5 Years Ago
      David, I live here in Germany too, have for the last 4 1/2 years and you're right. Many Americans live in a delusional idea that the autobahns have no speedlimit, when throughout a great majority of driving on them, there is a speed limit and there's ALWAYS the suggested speed limit of 130 K's no matter where you are and if you ARE in any sort of accident and are going above that, even in unposted area's you will automatically be ticketed, whether the accident was your fault or not (same with drinking and driving). Germany has some of the safest roads in the world, they also have some of the most considerate drivers, who get over when you're merging, who understand what the speed limit is, etc. Personally I'd rather get flashed than have to deal with the polizi. I've been flashed once since living here because of a sudden speed drop and I was 6 k's over the speed limit, but I paid my fine because I WAS speeding and it's the LAW and therefor I got what I deserved.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The speed cameras and laws are properly implemented in Germany, and the Autobahn is safe because of that. People are allowed to go fast on there, and they have to drive respectfully and properly.

        The speed cameras in America are not properly done, and they only prohibit people from going fast. They're still allowed to drive like idiots as long as they keep it below the limit? F that.
      • 5 Years Ago
      We had the red light camera in College Station, TX....a local individual collected enough signatures to have 'red light camera' on the ballot. Needless to say it was defeated and the cameras removed...
      • 5 Years Ago
      These cameras are the only way cops can be lazy enough to go get their doughnuts. I remember when cops actually HAD to pull you over if you were speeding. So more Revenue for the state and lazy fatter cops...hmmm
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have driven in England many times where speed cameras are very previlent and you are given adequate notice. The people that are complaining are the ones who like to not obay the speed limits to begin with.
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