Arizona Considers Ditching Speed Cameras

from the big-waste-of-money dept

We’ve highlighted the significant problems with speed cameras over the years, but it hasn’t stopped their continued spread. Arizona was actually one of the more aggressive deployers of such speed cameras, which were immediately effective in delivering speeding tickets to thousands of supposed speeders. However, it looks like the anger at the automated ticket-giving machines has caught the attention of at least one local Senator who is trying to kill the program, noting that the cameras are: “annoying, unfair, intrusive and even dangerous because of backups as motorists abruptly slow down near cameras.” Indeed. Of course, anyone who looked at other areas that installed such cameras would have found out the same thing without spending millions of taxpayer dollars installing them first.

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Comments on “Arizona Considers Ditching Speed Cameras”

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TEA-Time says:

Here’s some more good reading.

Santa(s) trying to help out…

Probably not the best idea…

Plenty of other stories…

Anonymous Coward says:

I live in the Phoenix area and they are everywhere. Intersections, fixed places all over the freeways, random mobile units parked in different places everyday. Of course you should just drive the speed limit and you’re fine.

It’s annoying to drive on the freeways because people are afraid to drive even the posted limit of 65 past the cameras. So every few miles you have people slowing down to 50-55 to drive by the cameras causing a safety issue on the freeway. What’s more annoying is you still frequently see cops parked on the side of the road with radar. They are pulling in millions a month from the cameras the cops should be off doing something else to fight crime.

The cameras on the freeways are under road sensor wires so your radar detector doesn’t pick them up. Anymore my tri band + laser unit doesn’t even pick up photo radar or hand held radar they must be using different bands now or something.

Racer X says:

Good idea...bad execution

The idea of mobile and stationary radar to control speed limits is fine….the problem is, how it’s delivered overall.

I’ve been to Germany and Belgium, and they have these things everywhere too. Nobody bitches or complains….WHY? Because the tickets are A LOT less. A speeding ticket is NOT considered a “moving” violation there. The ticket is 20 euros, and there are no “points” added to your driving record, which would cause your insurance rates to skyrocket. People there follow the speedlimit….if you need to speed for being late..whatever. The ticket arrives, you pay..done. It’s like a parking ticket here in the US. My friend who lives there said yea…at first, I got a lot of them…but then after paying 100 and 200 euros a month…I got sick of paying that much….so I just drive the limit now to avoid the hassle.

Of course…so many other things are better there too….speed limits are higher when possible. When crowded…limits are lower. When traffic is sparce…limits are HIGH…sometimes unlimited. Drivers also MOVE OVER when someone is faster. Passing on the right is illegal and a BIG fine….and deadly. Trucks are also not allowed into the passing lane on 2 lane highways, unless in designated passing sections. It makes everything organized, faster and safer.

That’s how it should have been deployed here. Why does the US insist on inventing their own way, instead of looking at other countries and methods that WORK.

RJ says:


Just drive the speed limit.

I live in PHX too, and the reason there is slowing at the cameras is because people are hitting the brakes at 90 MPH to avoid a ticket from a STATIONARY SYSTEM. The mobile units are another story.

In the end, go the speed limit (which is 65 just about everywhere the cameras are located). Let’s face it, your life and transportation needs aren’t so important that you have to speed everywhere. Take the extra 35 seconds and drive 65MPH.

Ubiquitous says:

Re: Re: Camera's

> I saw a DPS (State Cop) get flashed the
> other day. I wonder if he has to pay.

Probably not. And it even if payment is required, it won’t be the cop who pays, it will come out of his department’s budget.

I drive an unmarked undercover car. The tags are registered to a fictitious person at a fictitious address, so if I were to get a photo ticket, it just gets returned to the DMV in the mail as undeliverable.

scot says:

Re: Camera's

The trouble in Phoenix is that the cameras are not just on the 65 MPH areas. There are a number of sections of freeway that are 55 MPH with cameras. To people who are not local to that stretch they look like 65 MPH as there is no sign when you join the freeway to show the speed limit.

In Europe it is clearly displayed what the post limit is when you enter the slip road and anywhere the speed changes. Some countries even paint it on the road.

Because you cannot be sure of the limit on the freeways in town, people play safe and drive 55 MPH even though it may be 65 MPH. They should just make the whole freeway system in phoenix one speed.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Re: Re: Slowing Down Bad?

Sneeje wrote:

Studies are now coming out that show that accidents are higher in frequency at intersections with the cameras than those without them.

I’ve heard about studies showing greater incidence of rear-end collisions. But why should that be, unless they were tailgating? If you rear-end somebody, it’s your fault.

Crabby (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Slowing Down Bad?

That’s a simplification that just isn’t always true in real life. A driver has to look at all the traffic and pedestrians around, as well as traffic signals and potholes, etc. If you are behind a car and the driver suddenly brakes for no reason, and you are looking to the side because here comes a pedestrian, you might not see the car in front of you has stopped.

I have seen drivers try to cause accidents, and I have had drivers try to trap me into hitting them. It happens. People are jerks (and worse). Don’t assume that only the car behind needs to pay attention to what is going on — the driver in front needs to be predictable and not do something stupid — like suddenly braking in the middle of an intersection to change lanes.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Slowing Down Bad?

Crabby wrote:

If you are behind a car and the driver suddenly brakes for no reason, and you are looking to the side because here comes a pedestrian, you might not see the car in front of you has stopped.

That’s what “stopping distance” is for–it’s to give you time to react. If you hit the car in front, then you were following too closely, it’s as simple as that.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Slowing Down Bad?

> If you hit the car in front, then you were
> following too closely, it’s as simple as that.

Not always.

For example, you’re in the middle lane of a three-lane freeway. There’s no one in front of you for several car-lengths. You’re maintaining safe stopping distance. Suddenly a car cuts in front of you from the right lane and at the same time brakes because he in turn is cut off from the left. You hit him in the rear because you didn’t even have time to react to him entering your lane, let alone his sudden decrease in speed.

This actually happened to my girlfriend. Both the cops and the insurance company ruled her “not at fault”.

So don’t think that rear-ending someone automatically equates to liability.

nasch says:

Re: Re: Re: Slowing Down Bad?

What does it matter? It’s OK if the red light cameras cause more accidents, because it’s really somebody else’s fault? In reality there’s evidence that red light cameras cause more minor accidents, and reduce the number of serious accidents. However, there’s also evidence that just increasing the length of the yellow light also reduces serious accidents without any drawbacks (except reducing ticket revenue), so that’s probably the way to go.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Slowing Down Bad?

> I’ve heard about studies showing greater
> incidence of rear-end collisions. But why
> should that be, unless they were tailgating?
> If you rear-end somebody, it’s your fault.

It doesn’t matter whose fault it is. The fact that it’s clearly happening is the issue. Intersections are conclusively more dangerous with cameras than without them, no matter whose at fault for the crashes.

If safety is really the reason for these cameras (and not revenue) as the politicians keep telling us, then the safest choice is get rid of the cameras.

The Man says:

I think everyone missed the real reason they don''t work

The camera companies sale the cameras to the city’s based on stats that show the camera system, while very expensive, will pay for themselves with revenue from the speeders who get tickets. City say great, more revinue and we are making the streets safer. The cameras then work as promised. People stop running red lights. The other side to that is revenue goes down, but the city is still stuck paying the monthly / qaurterly bill. The cameras become very expensive to sit there and run when they are not generating any revenue to at least cover the cost. It was very short sited of the cities to put these in.

Mike says:

Lets face it.

Lets face it, a person going under the speed limit is much more annoying and dangerous then somebody going a bit over. The slowpoke holds up traffic, starts lines and gets drivers upset. This leads to illegal passes, road rage and tailgating. The faster driver usually concentrates more on driving and he/she is not causing delay or rage. If your slow and you see somebody who wants to go faster A. Get out of the fast lane. B. pull over to the shoulder to let the faster people go. C. Just get off the road in general.

Vic says:

Re: Re: Lets face it.

I personally cannot provide you with studies on that matter, but… How about just a word from a traffic cop himself? When discussing drivers going too slow and holding up traffic the cop said: “I do not care if you’re even driving at the speed limit. But if you’re holding at least 5 cars behind you I’m going to pull you over and give you a ticket.” That is almost verbatim what has been said (in a government building on a busy working day).
So I have to agree that driving slow IS very dangerous. 😉

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Lets face it.

It’s called the real world, I need no stupid bloated undergraduate study to tell me what I know and experience daily. I have a 50 minute commute each way which involves 2 highway systems, a parkway, city streets, and suburban roads. I am by no means a speed racer but I expect to do at least the speed limit. If there are more then one lane I expect the left lane to be for passing not meandering. When getting onto a highway I expect the on ramp to be the time when you accelerate up to highway speed, so when entering the highway you are going the same speed as traffic. I also expect the people on the highway to allow the acceleration ramp people to merge in gracefully, this usually means moving over to the other lane or adjusting your speed as in taking it off cruse. Please respect your fellow driver and get off the phone, stop eating, put on some music and DRIVE!!!

Cryix says:

Just got one in dec visiting my relatives.

I expect better from you guys living in phoenix. The speed limits there are not consistent on every freeway and not in line with nearby states.

I live in LA where the speed limit is 65 no matter what freeway you’re on.

In Phoenix, sometimes its 55 and sometimes its 65. I got a ticket for going 64 in a 55 on the squaw peak near the biltmore.

I’m so used to it being 65 that it never occured to me it was 55 since i had just come on from the 10 into town. You’d get killed going under 65 on the 5 or the 405 in LA.

If this is where we’re going, put speed governors on our cars or GPS trackers and be done with it.

Tony Bradshawe says:

Re: Re:

“I live in LA where the speed limit is 65 no matter what freeway you’re on.”

Actually, in downtown Los Angeles, the maximum speed limit is 55 MPH. This includes the entire length of the Pasadena Freeway between Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles, and portions of the Hollywood, Santa Ana, Santa Monica, and Harbor Freeways.

FYI, The default limit on 2-lane roads in Los Angeles is 55 mph.

Freedom says:

Cameras Suck!

I live in the Phoenix area and these cameras drive me nuts.

The speed limits change back and forth from 55 to 65 around town (which is bad enough on its own) and while the speed cameras are well flagged they never bother to put he speed limit sign under or near the ‘photo radar ahead sign’. As such, you aren’t sure if you are in a 55MPH or 65MPH zone, so to be safe you slow down to 55MPH or less and annoy everyone!

After you’ve been in the valley and get used to it. During light traffic you just set your cruise control for 64 for the 55MPH ones and 74 for the 65MPH ones since there is a 10MPH grace given. I wouldn’t do this of course (cough), but I know plenty of folks that do the 9 miles over and then speed doing 80 or more to the next photo radar, etc. In short, it becomes a game to them.

The best comment I heard was on the radio with the DJ talking about the Cardinals game. “For all those Eagle fans in town, we have these great tourist cameras setup that will take a commemorative picture of your trip for you. These are on most of our major freeways – just drive around town fast and you’ll have one in the mail when you get home.”


TheDoc (user link) says:

The Cameras Arn't The Problem!

The Cameras catching speeders or whatever, isn’t the problem at all. It’s far from the problem.

The problem with the Cameras is they were put in place, stated by the Governor I think it was, to pay off the massive debt the state and cities are in.

Catching people speeding is fine, don’t speed. Catching people running red lights is fine, don’t run them. Making traffic slow down in high accident areas, does work.. I can see the results with my own eyes, I don’t need a report.

The traffic fines are a super tax, ripping our money away to pay for our States out of control spending habits. And no, I haven’t gotten a ticket here.

~ Doc

d says:

Speed limit changes all the time

It’s interesting that everyone that lives in Phoenix (or say they do) are ignoring the fact that all of a sudden a bunch of “construction” zones popped up all over for mobile speed cameras to catch more “speeders.” It happened on 51 (where is the construction?!), on 101 even in portions with no construction for months as well as on 60. Yeah, some morons drive too fast, but majority of congestion happens not because someone went from 90 to 60, but because someone went from 68 to 58 just in case.

Daniel Duong says:


If the stupid old laday can sue McDonalds because she spills hot coffee on herself, Arizona is just waiting for someone to claim this one. All you have to do is go 11 miles over the speed limit at one of these cameras at night, when you see the bright camera flash swerve out of control and crash. Make sure you drive on one of the outer lanes so you can crash into the median or the right side of the freeway and not hit someone. Now you can sue that city or state for causing your accident. They’re just waiting to give money out.

Daniel Duong says:


If you think they’re thinking about your safety I got one word for you. You are “Naïve”. Why do you think when you get this “11 miles over” ticket it doesn’t go on your driving record??? It’s a GREAT way for them to make money. The more you speed, the more they LOVE you. Their sales pitch is “oh, this will make everyone slow down and drive safely, and will increase our revenue”. Gee, kill 2 birds with one stone? why not? Yes we should all slow down but please let us be humans and make mistakes instead of slowly turning us into robots.

Anonymous Coward says:

I live in the Phoenix area and I drive long stretches of the 202, 101 and 60 every day, professionally (i.e. if I get a ticket I lose my job).

I have mixed feelings about those cameras… Sure it’s annoying that you have to slow down for them; no-one wants to get a ticket from a machine. But on the other hand, they give you ample warning (at 1/2 mile and 300ft, even at the mobile cameras) and plenty of leeway: 10 miles over the limit is okay, what the beep!

Where I come from (Europe), the cameras are always hidden in some way (behind a tree or whatever), there are no warning signs and if you go 3 kilometers per hour (less than 2mph) over the speed limit, they take a picture of your license plate only – it doesn’t even matter if you’re actually the driver. Fines are higher there, although I have to say there was no system of “points on your license” when I was there.

I like driving and I admit, I like speeding too. I don’t like speed cameras but I think if you’re whining about how the cameras make traffic unsafe and how the state gets rich from them, you’re a hypocrite. You just don’t like that you got flashed when you weren’t paying attention and missed the 4-foot “PHOTO ENFORCEMENT ZONE” signs while you were doing 80 in a 65, and there’s no cop that stops you and believes your story that you were just getting past that truck that was doing 75 and lets you get away with it.

Just be happy that you can still drive 10mph faster than the speed limit and get away with it, and that they don’t start doing stuff like what they’re starting to do elsewhere now, where they put cameras on both ends of a long freeway and send you a ticket if it took you less than x minutes to get from one end to another.

Pay a little attention and you will know exactly what the speed limit is and where the cameras are, even the mobile ones. If you don’t know what the speed limit is, try going along with the rest of traffic or (if there is none) feel free to slow down to 60 or less just to be on the safe side. If you’re in a hurry, you can even be a moron and speed up again and continue your way weaving through traffic after you pass the camera and maybe realize how much worse life could be.

Just don’t be naive and think that the cops have something better to do now — just this week I saw a cop on a bike with a laser gun on the 60 near the Mill Ave exit where the speed limit is down to 55 for construction. I had to get off the freeway there and when I got back on, he had pulled someone over.

Don says:

Speed Cameras

The revenue generated from the speed cameras is garbage and it does not outweigh the cost.

There is a recent survey released that states that 63% or registered voters support the speed cameras. Funny thing is….guess who did the survey? The company who is selling this garbage.

Any other poll (online, news investigation, etc.) has shown that this is TOTALLY FALSE. Most residents DO NOT support them. They do however support red-light cameras.

Just another way to rob taxpayers of thier money.

Shame on you American Traffic Solutions.

If you would like to contact them:

Josh Weiss,
Director of Communications and Public Affairs

MAd motorist says:

Speed camera fraud!

I got a ticket today in the mail. 88 in a 65. I know I never EVER drive that fast. I drive motley on cruise control on the freeway. I checked the video online, and shows I was not speeding(very clearly) I’m in the right lane and get passed by the person next to me. This is ridicules! How can they use these if they clearly don’t work? What a scam! I hate Arizona and their greed!

Jonathan Steen says:

No Need For Big Brother

The irony is that speed cameras can actualy INCREASE rear-end collisions. If the real purpose of these devices is to slow traffic and increase pedestrian safety (rather than generate revenue) than there are effective alternative solutions that don’t spy on citizens.

has put together a list of research studies that show what works and what doesn’t. It appears that radar speedcheck signs are particularly effective WITHOUT the use of camera enforcement – and unlike speedbumps, they don’t increase traffic noise or impede emergency vehicles.

MH says:

Flashed going the speed limit.

I live in Pinal County. I was flashed by a mobile unit on the 60 freeway going east, just passed Signal Butte. I was driving the speed limit exactly, and it was near dawn, so it was quite a shock. This made me very upset, because it is my word against the machine. I called the local non-emergency line of the local police to start. They gave me the number of the Department of Public Safety. The female who answered told me “the cameras recycle themselves” and “don’t worry” and that “it also takes test pictures”. I don’t go over the speed limit much anymore because I sped in my youth and tired of the cost. So it was even more shocking to have a flash when I was already confidently going the limit and knew there should not be a flash. It makes it that much more difficult to trust a system that has already failed you in the past.

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