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Pima County Supervisors Vote to Shut Down All the County's Speed Cameras

A speed camera in England.
A speed camera in England.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted this week to shut down all 11 speed cameras in the county.

"Reviews of the program by the Pima County Department of Transportation and the Pima County Sheriff's Department found no conclusive evidence that fixed stand-alone cameras effectively and consistently reduce speeds or crashes because drivers tend to decrease speed near the camera and then accelerate after passing," the county says in a statement.

The cameras are owned by American Traffic Solutions, and the five-year contract with the company expired on Monday.

There were other reasons the supervisors decided to not renew the contract, other than people decreasing their speed only in front of the camera.

For one, revenue from the cameras kept dropping. To begin with, ATS made more money on the tickets than the county did.

The most common speed-cameras fine was $239.25, for exceeding the speed limit between 11 and 15 mph. Of that, the state took more than half. Of the remaining some, ATS took more than half of that. On those $239.25 tickets, Pima County was raking in a grand total of less than $48.

Plus, there were nearly 40,000 tickets in the first year, 2009, compared to about 15,500 through the first nine months of 2013, according to the county.

In addition, the line about traffic cameras improving road safety turned out to not be true.

"[The county transportation department's] review found that the crash rate at the 11 camera locations decreased only 13 percent during a three-period when the crash rate for the entire County road system decreased 19 percent," a county statement says. "The severity rate of crashes at the 11 camera locations decreased less than 1 percent while the severity rate of crashes systemwide decreased 11 percent."

Unfortunately for those in the Phoenix area, several cities around the Valley still utilize the cameras.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.


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