Arizona Freeway Speed Cameras to be Ripped Out This Week


​Arizona was the first state in the country to launch an extensive speed-camera system on highways and freeways.

The experiment failed.

This week, highway crews are ripping out the poles and camera housings along Interstates 17 and 10 and State Route 51 in the Valley, a chore required by the decision in May not to renew a contract with Australian speed-camera vendor, Redflex. The de-construction work represents the last time those infernal machines will slow down traffic.

Though the cameras did train motorists to ease off the pedal a tad in front of the cameras, the Big-Brother-like, oppressive aura of the system stained the agency charged with operating it, the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The DPS, which claims a motto of "courteous vigilance," took the brunt of the criticism for the statewide camera program put into place by former Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano.


Even supporters of the program's alleged safety benefits had to admit the whole endeavor was little more than a jumbo-sized speed trap, the main purpose of which was to make money.

That being said -- everytime we pass one of those metal Watchmen, we slow down despite knowing they no longer issue tickets. We're pretty sure we're not the only ones suffering from that psychological side-effect, which means average freeway speeds are probably about to go up.


KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern