Photo Enforcement Camera Reprieve: State Troopers Will Set Trigger at 11 mph Over Speed Limit

In a belated Christmas present, the Arizona Department of Public Safety announces it will raise the trigger of photo enforcement units by one mile per hour.

Until now, DPS had its Valley cameras giving people tickets if they sped 10 mph over the posted limit -- now, it will be 11 mph.

The move puts the state system on par with city speed cameras, which might eliminate some of the confusion among motorists that undoubtedly benefited the program's bottom line.

The trigger speed is likely tied to revenue, regardless. With all the talk of safety, you won't see DPS or the cities tinkering with the system to achieve the perfect balance between safety and fewer citations. They need the money to pay off the photo enforcement vendor and help fill state coffers.

The vast majority of tickets likely go to people speeding just a few miles per hour over the trigger point.

Of course, that's 12 or 13 mph over the posted speed limit -- pretty fast, though within the flow of traffic it doesn't always seem so. And don't give us that "reasonable and prudent" line: That argument only works for speeds under in excess of 65 mph.

Still, we're not aware of any detailed study of collisions on Valley freeways that might prove whether the trigger is better set at 5, 11 or 20 mph over the speed limit.

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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.