Speed Camera Catches Thousands Of Supposed Speeders In One Day

from the busy-day dept

We’ve written about problems with speed cameras before — like the time one tried to charge a brick wall with going 58 MPH (it’s all relative, perhaps it was the camera that was moving…). However, that hasn’t stopped police in Scottsdale, Arizona from testing the technology. Digg points out that a new speed camera wasted no time at all “flashing” over one thousand drivers on Sunday — which seems like it may be a bit much. The company behind the camera will start looking through the photos to determine how many were actual speeders. However, the fact that it picked up over 1,000 potential speeders in a single day suggests one of two things (and possibly both): the cameras don’t work very well or the speed limit being used on that road is poorly set. Neither of these conclusions reflects well on those who are pushing for the speed cameras.

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Comments on “Speed Camera Catches Thousands Of Supposed Speeders In One Day”

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TechNoFear (profile) says:

Re: Speeders?

Australia has had speed cameras for many years, evil little things. They are the non fixed type and are moved around each day.

The operators set the speed low so they can also catch you other offences. (ie not wearing a seat belt = Au$200)

Now they fine you for exceeding the speed limit by >5Kmh (~3Mph) (Au$50). Just a revenue raising exercise.

People now know that there can only be one car in the photo for the police to charge you. So now you find people driving in ‘packs’. The speeders racing from pack to pack or speeding along in pairs.

So much safer….

Tim (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Speeders?

> Really. They are going 110+??? And it’s a BAD thing that they are getting tickets????

It could be. I’d prefer to trust a representative sample of drivers who feel safe enough than some pointy-haired officious scumbag in an office 300 miles away.

Germany has no speed-limits at all on some of its auto-bahns and from here in the UK, I hear more left-pondians whinging about their roads than I do Germans.

Tech Support says:

Re: Re: Speeders?

I call it natural selection. If you are stupid enough to travel at an unsafe speed on any given road, you deserve to be killed off. The only problem I see with this is that the ones who are driving the safer speed usually end up being the ones killed. Does this mean that they are stupid for taking a road which they know contains speeders? If this were the case, and you really were smart, you would find another way to get around than in a car. Once again, natural selection. Get with it people, there are much more important things to worry about than cameras which tell you that you were driving fast. Most people who speed, know they speed, and should be willing to pay the consequences for doing such an action. Stop bitching about getting caught and pay up. Speeding is a choice.

Jake Geek, the science freak says:

Re: Re: Re: Speeders?

Hooray for Darwin! (even though he didn’t have a clue about the finches)
Kinda harsh, but so is life.
I agree that speeding is a choice: a bad one.
Certainly, there are some horrible misapplications of technology, and it is the responsible and informed citizen’s job to question the unreasonable. Speeding, road rage, and the like are all indications, in my opinion, of the decline of civilization. Pretty soon, we’re going to be travelling at 99% of the speed of light, and someone is going to crash, create a black hole, and destroy the world. Then you’ll wish you studied physics. For those of us who are happy travelling at high, but non-relativistic, speeds, please remember that kinetic energy is equal to half your mass times your speed squared, so small increases in speed translate to large increases in kinetic energy. Sorry for rambling, especially since all of those this is directed at will continue to not care. Maybe I’m just an old-fashioned optimist, or a new-fangled pessimist, but remember: in the final analysis, entropy always wins.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Tailgating

A guy was tailgating me on a two-lane 45mph road in town where I live (and where there are no cameras.) I was doing a bit over 50, and there was no one other than my car and his in either lane. So – he pulls up and tailgates.

After a couple of minutes, I started slowing down. Over the course of 5 minutes, I came to a complete stop in the middle of the road. Five minutes after that, he went around me.

Moral: I’ll support cameras when they are also equipped with tasers for people like that. An interesting experiment in optics and AI, no doubt…

Sean says:

No Subject Given

dont know if you have ever tried to drive on a that road in AZ.. It can be quite a “Race” to many drivers that come from to many different driving styles trying to get along @ 80+ miles an hour. The funny thing is if you do drive the speed limit you are liable to get shot because you are not going fast enough. My truck gets its best gas mialage @ about 55 – 60 mph. and I get alot of angry drivers behind me 🙂

Kartman says:

Re: No Subject Given

55-60 is below the posted speed limit. Stay on city streets gramps.

The new cameras are already causing even more traffic. The speed limit here is 65 and the cameras are set to take a pic at 76 or higher. No people already jamming up traffic going 60-65 are slamming on their brakes in front of the cameras and dropping to 50. Within a short time I’m sure accidents will increase too.

Michal says:

the biggest problem

The biggest problem with speed limits these days is poor enforcement. If people actually had to drive the speed limit there would be far more impetus to change it where it needs changing while at the same time those that obey the speed limit aren’t getting honked at, cut off, flipped off, etc…

Now to do something about those that tailgate you on a one lane hiway with no one else around.

Shoal Creek says:

Re: the biggest problem

Now to do something about those that tailgate you on a one lane hiway with no one else around.

Normally, I drive 5-10 mph over the speed limit on the highway; however, when someone tailgates me, I just ease the speed on down until they are at a two second following distance, until they pass, or until they get a clue and back off. For the worst tailgaters, I end up going about 5 mph.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: the biggest problem

ya, you are the dick that waits till there is a truck coming and then lets us pass. Good thing I carry a double barrel in the car. Rock salt in one side and white phosphorus in the other. Makes your suffering feel so much better. Why use lead when you can burn the flesh and muscle to the bone and then salt the wound shortly after? You know… when you are away from civilization.

AZ_Native says:

Hah...and Hah again...

The Loop 101 is a Nascar approved street in most peoples opinion that live here. Scottsdale is the only part of that freeway that has these cameras…it was even advertised for like the last 3 months or more that these cameras were going up and all the local news channles did stories on them the day befor ehtey went live. Now if the tickets ARE legit, then the people that get them are MORONS, but if the tickets aren’t legit, then I’d say it’s aboput par for the course with speed cameras in AZ. They all suck and the local governments routinely throw those tickets out when contested in court. Another thing…the state law regarding these cameras stipulates that the governments that use them are to be the ones that maintain and set them up. Most governments have been using third parties (i.e. the companies that sell them) to maintain and distribute them…can you say LOOP HOLE?!?!?!

Dave says:

Speed set too low?

Speed limits are not set based upon the speed that people drive on a road, that is a ridiculous comment. Speed limits are set based upon criteria such as the layout of the road (curvy road or straight) and what is in the area (driveways, schools, shopping centers, farmland). If you think the speed is/should be based upon what people drive then you should immediatly turn in your drivers license and STOP DRIVING.

JBB says:

Re: Speed set too low?

You forgot weather conditions and time of day and phase of the moon…no, seriously!

The speed limits are typically set for if you’re driving with low-beams on in the middle of a rainy night with no moon visible to give any light.

Which happens how often?

Apparently, 100% of the time, based on the static speed limits. 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Speed set too low?

If you think the speed is/should be based upon what people drive then you should immediatly turn in your drivers license and STOP DRIVING.

According the MUTCD (basically, the govt manual for traffic control/signage) speed limits are supposed to be set at the 85th percentile of free-flowing traffic, with considerations made for roadside environment. Now, I haven’t seen this road in Scottsdale myself, but if that many people are ‘speeding’ over the posted limit on a particular stretch of highway, maybe they should consider why.


Unfortunately, some jurisdictions choose to post artificially low speed limits on many stretches of road. That may not be the case in Scottsdale, but having driven through enough US states, it’s far more common than it should be.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Speed set too low?

Actually, there is no reason a child should be on a road anywhere near a shcool. All of the schools I have ever attended had a campus where the busses entered the driveway and dropped the children off at the door. So the whole school zone thing is completely unneeded. If the bus driver cannot control the children and keep them from running into the road, then they do not need to be driving a bus.

Oh, and I have children. I still feel that if you are dumb enough to let your child play in traffic, then you should go to jail for their death when I run them over. Your child, your responsibility. On the same token, it is my responsibility to make sure that my child does everything by the book. No waivers ever. Nothing is ever free and as my child gets older he will know this truth only too well.

A true believer that the children are our future says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Child-killing speeders

Hmm… Seems to me that you haven’t been to a lot of the thousands of schools in the US. Let’s condsider that the buses don’t pick up children who live just a few blocks from school, and those kids walk to school. Kids don’t understand traffic laws (and I’m not sure you do either) and can’t be trusted to stay out of the street at all times. I think that it’s ironic that you claim to teach your child to do things “by the book” when you certainly don’t. This is just another example of the great American pastime of shirking personal responsibility. Additionally, it is not the bus driver’s responsibility to control the kids when they aren’t even on the bus. I’ve always believed that the world is what we make of it, and you and your like-minded comrades certainly are doing a good job trashing it. There have been several deaths in my city alone due to people speeding and running red lights and hitting a child or teenager. That child never had the chance to experience life or excercise the rights you people inappropriately flaunt, and for what? So you can get wherever you’re going a few minutes sooner? Finally, don’t try to tell me that speeding just a little bit can’t hurt anyone because this kind of dangerous behavior is incremental. Just ask any behavioral scientist: you start speeding just a little bit, and don’t experience any negative consequences, so you take it a little further, and a little further, and then you kill someone. The German autobahn might not have speed limits, but that’s the autobaun, not road in front of a school or pedestrian shopping center. Access is restricted to vehicles only.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Child-killing speeders

I have a very clear understanding of personal responsibility. If my child wanders into the street under my watch, then it is my responsibility to answer for it. Not the driver that happened to be driving by when MY child ran in front of them.

Now, as far as children that live near the schools, I used to live about 300 feet from the entrance to the school campus. I had to walk. Now, I was not allowed to walk to school alone until I was old enough to understand that the road was for vehicles and not people. I was walked to school by a parent, and we walked to the light by the school and used the crosswalk when it was our turn. And no, there weren’t guards at the crosswalk. That was the parent’s job not the government or school’s to protect the children. FYI: This is in upstate NY, where doing right is more important than anyones BS personal agenda. So, that means… We did it by the book, NO? And that is how I plan on teaching my child. If there isn’t a sidewalk, the road is not a substitute. If it is a busy highway, have the school install a walkway overpass. But teach your children right, and take personal responsibility for their actions.

By the way, if the parents are not responsible enough to keep track of their children, then they have no business being parents. Procreation is not a right. I know a few doctors out there that can assist you if you need to take care of that little problem of impulse control. Guaranteed never to have children ever again. Much less touch another human being in any kind of intimate way. But that is for another thread.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Child-killing speeders

You talk about children having rights? What rights? Until they are 18 or imancipated, they have no rights. I tell my child what they will or will not do. It is not a democracy for them until they are old enough to participate in the American democracy. Legally, that is age 18.

And roads are confined to vehicles only. You have heard of jaywalking have you not? Cross only at cross walks when the sign tells you to go.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Speed set too low?

What better way to determine a safe speed than to average the opinions of many drivers? Are we all so stupid that we cant judge the safe speed on a road? The average speed on a road is an excellent starting point. In fact one of the more common ways of setting a speed limit is taking 85% of the average speedon that road. Don’t believe me? _Look it up_

Now, if that proves insane due to other factors on the road, then apparently the drivers are misjudging it due to something tricky and lowering the speed limit as an ADVISORY measure is prudent.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

why the fuck do they sell cars that can go 120+ mph when the highest legal limit in my state is 75 mph?

that’s pretty fucking stupid…

if they were serious about controlling speeds and not just funneling money out of the public’s pockets then they would have radio transmitters in the speed limit signs that enable an electronic governor on the car…

of course that would raise a lot of concerns about other issues, people hacking the system and fucking with people to make them drive 5 mph etc but if they were serious they would stop making cars that can do over 120 mph!!!

Bennett says:

Re: No Subject Given

They make cars that can go 100-120 mph because that’s dependent on the power of the engines and the quality of the tires. For us to have decent ride and handling at safe speeds they have to build the tires to a certain level of robustness and quality. It just happens that the upper limit of those tires for continuous use in a straight line (speed rating) is 100-120 mph. Then you have the engine power…. The engines aren’t specifically powerful because the automaker was looking for top speed. Rather, it’s a question of acceptable acceleration in heavy traffic. Try getting on a busy highway sometime in an old Hyundai Accent and you’ll know what I mean. You wish it had maybe 10-20 more hp to get you going, but with the high mpg gearing that it has the top speed is already like 105.
If this is really a problem then car makers should set the speed limiter on their cars lower. Maybe 80 mph? They don’t because law makers don’t force them. Now maybe they shouldn’t…but I really wish that Freightliners and Chevy pickups couldn’t go 97 mph wherever they want. I have worked for a company that had a sleeper cab International top out at 120 mph on this one four lane highway near where I live. Yikes!

Dustin says:

Looks like crap, smells like crap... I'm pretty su

Does no one in the world believe in freedom anymore? Apart from the government’s interference by implementing one-size-fits-all speed limit regulations, the freedom that people exhibit when driving on the highway is the ultimate in democracy. Some drive fast, some drive slow, and when all-of-the-above know how to drive, it isn’t an issue. How about requiring people to actually learn how to drive, before giving them a license? I’m pretty sure no one has ever died from a catastrophic parallel parking accident. Why don’t you worry about your own driving, and let me worry about mine.

Professor HighBrow says:

Re: Looks like crap, smells like crap... I'm prett

There’s a good point in the arguement that speeders may cause injury to another, but thats a fine line to push. Putting cameras all over the place is a very bad idea… What about personal privacy?
And what about the fact that some people literally DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DRIVE safely even when traveling at 20 MPH? Give the people some Ritalin so they can focus, or a new set of eyeglasses.
Sounds like a revenue scam to me; this happens in major cities all the time when the coffers get emtpy.
Try getting fined for jaywalking or putting your garbage out 1 hour too early and geting fined for the ‘Debris on Street’ (AKA other peoples litter) even though you live on the 2nd floor.
Or get your car towed, impounded, and pay to get it back becaue you parked on a street that was going to be repaved, but no one bothered to inform anyone (purposefully, of course.)
Most people would rather just pay a fine rather than fight it in court, and Officials know that.

Milking the public cow’s teet because no one wants to stand up for anything, even the tiniest injustice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Looks like crap, smells like crap... I'm prett

Well there are options here… One is to take one of those privacy screens that you can put over your comuter monitor and dut it down to fit a tag holder. Then when the camera takes a picture, it is always at such an angle that is obscured by the polorization. Look at it from the car directly behind and you can read it.

The other option is to do what we did in our town when they were installing the cameras… Remove them as fast as they put them up. the City put out an apb on all cameras. Too bad they got them all back piece by piece. It is hard for the camera to take your pic if you are behind the camera when you break it off. If it is on a tower, you are just as good. A chain and a real heavy duty truck will do the job.leave the tower and mail the camera one piece at a time back to them… After blowing it up.

Awe Darn… all those wasted millions gone. Since I am a tax payer and I didn’t approve of this project, and it was payed for with my tax dollars, I demand a refund of all taxes collected.

Oh, and for you grandmas and grandpas that get those expensive fast cars and don’t bother to get above 20 in them, Don’t get pissed if I cut you off. The reason half you fuckers have a handicap tag is because one of us ran your ass off the road because you couldn’t find the friggen gas. And we had to sit behind you for 20 minutes prior to that because you and your friends decide to go to IHOP during rush hour so you can spend the entire friggen day chatting about bowel movements, obits, and the disease of the week. As well as where you forgot your teeth last. (not to mention feeling up the waitresses)

And for those of you demanding that I give up my right to drive, um…. NO. you can have my license when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. Just because I learned to drive offensively in a warzone doesn’t make me wrong. Sometimes the best way to avoid an accident is to get the hell away from all of you. And that means driving at speeds that you say can kill. I’d rather be dead than be scraped up and put back together only to live in a persistant vegitative state. If I happen to take a few of the lowest common denominator with me, then so be it.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

I hear a whole lot of talk on this page about resrictions. I personally am glad that if my someone I care about gets severly injured or has a heart attack or something where time is a factor, that I can travel over 120mph to get them to the hospital. I know that by driving that fast I’m endangering their life but I drive fast all the time and I’ve never gotten into a high speed accident so I think that the chance of an accident vs. the guarantee of their death is a risk that I would be willing to take. All I’m saying is keep your mind open and think about the consequence of your actions before you ask to have my rights taken away.

IMoL says:

Makes me....

…want one of those cool James Bond revolving license plates 🙂

That road can be a racetrack sometimes, but wtf do sheeple slow down to 10mph UNDER the speed limit completely without warning when they see the cameras? They don’t even go off until you’re doing 11mph over the speed limit anyway.

Of course they can’t prosecute you if they can’t identify you, so I may just start wearing a ski mask every time I drive.

Ntlgnce says:


If anything the camera is only set to record those speeders that are in excess of 5mph over the limit. Because I would expect the number to be much higher. I mean lets face it, everybody knows they can blow past a cop going 5 over, knowing that the cop will not batt a eye.. Speeding is a major issue everywhere. See theres what we call a “beltline” a 8 lane highway that goes around my city, it has gotten so bad with speeders, 70-90 on average, that by me being a good driver following the posted 55mph speed limit, actually causes a huge traffic hazard…. It gets scary when your doing 55, theres 18 wheels of solid steel blasting past you on the left at 75mph, while a rusty old dumptruck spitting rusty oil and gravel with every bump passing me on my other side going 80, because he needs to be in the far left lane to make his exit in less then 1/4 mile cutting me and the semi off… Why do people do this? Well besides the obvious that there in a hurry, They do it because they know they can get away with it.. When was the last time you blew past the cop doing 10 over the speed limit? I think every one of those people that got caught by the camera for speeding should have to pay, and if the speed is excessive, then there licences taken away. Thats what the rules say right, 20 over and you lose your licence on the spot? Saying that the cameras are wrong is not going to help. The cameras are all digital, and if there innaccurate, then all the technology that we have today would also be WRONG… (Which I might add that technology is so advanced, we sent a probe with a laser beam on it into space. The thing flew around the sun for a few years, and then about a year into the mission, at a exact preprogramed time, 15 million miles away, it had to orentate itself and aim a laser beam (less then a inch wide) back tward the earth, and it successfully hit its target at aobservatory in Maryland. The receiver is less then 4 inches across. http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20060105/sc_space/recordsetforspacelasercommunication
So instead of trying to argue that the camera was wrong, fess up to the fact that they were all speeding, (You do it every day in your travels), and yes we even remember the spots where the cops like to sit, so we all slow down just long enough to see if there is one there, then its back to speeding.

Jonathon says:

Re: Speeding...

First, I am a speeder. However, I feel that I am very responsible when I do. I move with the flow of traffic no matter what the speed is…if it 120+ then so be it. I didn’t buy a sports car that is capable of that type of performance for nothing. To me, I find that it when vehicles are moving at different speeds that the most troubles arise. So to the a$$hole that talked about going 55 because he gets better gas mileage, I hope some stops tailgaiting you and does literaly run over you. Yes, it is your right…blah blah blah. Our rights are what make this nation great. However, I hate how people over use that statement (its my right to [fill in the blank]).

The current model for speed limits is extremly outdated. Although costly, in highly populated areas I think that having progressive speed lanes could be a huge benefit. The right most lanes could allow for 5mph bands centered around say 50, the center 60s – 70s, and the left most somewhere near 90 (or above?). However, the speeds would dynamically adjust based on several factors such as traffic conditions, weather, etc.

Dan says:

What do they really want?

Concerned about high speeds and rising number of accidents, Scottsdale received permission from the Arizona Department of Transportation to operate a nine-month program to determine whether the cameras reduce speed and collisions.

It may not reduce speed or collisions, but it will increase revenue. And that is important.

Jean G says:

101 loop

Everyone seems to be stuck on going 80+ mph on the 101 loop. I hear people saying that everyone should get a ticket if they do not follow traffic law by going over 65 mph. That is bullshit, try getting a ticket going 76 and getting fined the same as someone going 80+. Do you people really think that the radar is going to be accurate down 2 the mile??..Uhh…No!!.. How is anyone going to determine that you are going 76 and not 75 or 74 mph based on a radar system.. I’m not saying that speeding is right, I’m just saying that you can’t get 100% accuracy by a radar system..

Jean G says:

101 loop

Everyone seems to be stuck on going 80+ mph on the 101 loop. I hear people saying that everyone should get a ticket if they do not follow traffic law by going over 65 mph. That is bullshit, try getting a ticket going 76 and getting fined the same as someone going 80+. Do you people really think that the radar is going to be accurate down 2 the mile??..Uhh…No!!.. How is anyone going to determine that you are going 76 and not 75 or 74 mph based on a radar system.. I’m not saying that speeding is right, I’m just saying that you can’t get 100% accuracy by a radar system..

Bart H. says:

101 Loop

I ride a “crotch rocket” motorcycle quite a bit on the 101. When you are getting blazed by on the right by all the SUV’s doing 110 mph it gets rather old. You should see all the big Excursions and other SUV’s wrecked in the median as they lost control and fed their truck into the barrier wires. (Not a concrete barrier but tensioned wires on the East Valley part of this freeway.)

Isn’t that the focus of speed limits is that the average vehicle can be kept under control at those speeds? Obviously the SUV’s can’t run 110 consistantly without going for a unexpected off-road excursion.

I say traffic cameras are a great idea, they should have them every other mile on in-town freeways. If you want to speed like a demon go out of town. But no private companies, and everybody that gets a ticket should be forced to pay. I read that only 1/3 of camera tickets get enforced and paid. Give me a break!

One lady had 34 speeding tickets over 110 mph in one month on the 101. They let her go with a $8000 fine, no jail, no license suspension. What crap!

We have laws, they just need even enforcement.


Alan says:

Speed Set Too Low

Interesting discussion! There was a bus driver living near me in the UK who thought he could get away with it. In his spare time he drove a BMW motorbike, and with no number plate on the front, he did 100+ in a 40 limit. Thought the camera wouldn’t be able to trace him. Wrong! He got traced by local detectives as they discovered only 3 bikes of that make were owned in the locality!

dave sherry says:

I was flashed today on Rural road in Tempe. The speed limit, I am now finding out, is 35 miles per hour. That is a little questionable to me, since the same road in Scottsdale is 45 miles per hour, just 2 blocks or so north. I have never had a speeding ticket in my life. How can we respect authorities who use such tactics to plunder people? I am all for reasonable limits to speed, and keeping people from killing one another with motorized vehicles, but where is the accountability of governments, when they set unreasonable speed limits?

Gardner Under Seige says:

I jsut found out taht the Photo Radar Tickets in Arizona are reported to your insurance company and are a permanent part of your driving record. Formerly it was my understanding of the law was that if you did not contest a ticket and paid it, then the points owuld not be coounted on your driving record, only if you contested the ticket and lost would you have the points placed on your driving record. i was not guilty of the two speeding tickets that I gort, one in Tempe and one in Socttsdale on the 101, but I paid them. now my insurance company jsut doubled my rates becaseu the two tickets are on my driving record.

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