Jan Brewer Signs Bill Designed to Fight Photo Radar, Which Hardly Fights Photo Radar

Governor Jan Brewer has signed a bill into law that's supposed to cut down on the number of photo-radar cameras in the state, which probably won't happen.

See, according to House Bill 2477, a city or town can't put a photo-radar system on a state highway . . . unless it "proves that the photo enforcement system is necessary for the public safety of the state."

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According to a Senate fact sheet, a city or town has to prove to the Arizona Department of Transportation that speeding and vehicle accidents in the photo-radar area prove the need for photo radar.

There's no specific threshold, but ADOT gets to be the arbiter of what's "necessary for the public safety of this state."

Consider a few examples of this law's uselessness.

Folks who frequent the Scottsdale area undoubtedly will remember the speed cameras on Loop 101. That ended only because the city decided to let DPS take over operation of the cameras, but they had to be removed in 2008 due to construction. DPS ended up letting its photo-radar contract expire, so the cameras were never put back.

However, Scottsdale has the proof, if it wants to put the cameras back.

According to a legislative brief, "An Arizona State University research team, led by internationally recognized civil engineering professor Dr. Simon Washington, issued a preliminary report stating that the Loop 101 Freeway cameras had lowered average speeds by approximately ten miles per hour and reduced the overall number and severity of collisions."

So, technically, there could be more photo radar on state highways with this law, although there's no indication that Scottsdale's thinking about its 101 cameras again.

For another example of the law's uselessness, consider the town of Prescott Valley.

It has two fixed photo-radar locations, and it still puts out the radar van wherever it pleases.

The only thing that could be affected by this law is one of the fixed cameras, which is on State Route 69. According to a previous media report, the town assured one reporter that camera has the statistics behind it to keep it going anyway.

The law doesn't affect any current contracts cities or towns have with photo-radar companies, either, so there's another weakness.

More information on HB 2477 can be found here.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley