Traffic camera rules nixed in Arizona

| 4/20/2007

An effort to give Arizona voters the final say on speed cameras has died in the statehouse. Other efforts related to camera use met the same fate.

A bill stalled on the Senate floor that would have allowed voters to decide whether to post speed enforcement cameras along roadways in the state. It left local streets under the authority of cities.

Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, offered the referendum – SCR1027 – to put the issue of speed cameras on the 2008 ballot. His effort was unveiled after Gov. Janet Napolitano directed the Arizona Department of Public Safety to identify roadways in the state where photo enforcement should be used, the East Valley Tribune reported.

Napolitano has been touting the use of speed cameras statewide since the city of Scottsdale used them for nine months a year ago along a stretch of Loop 101. The governor said the cameras that dotted a 7.8-mile stretch of the highway from Scottsdale Road to Shea Boulevard appeared to alter the behavior of drivers.

During the test period the cameras helped the city generate about $800,000 in profits, The Arizona Republic reported. The cameras were reactivated along the stretch of roadway in February.

Also fed up with speed cameras, Rep. Michele Reagan R-Scottsdale, offered a bill to rein in revenues from tickets. Her bill – HB2655 – would have earmarked all city profits from tickets to a state fund for road work.

Reagan said she only wanted to make sure that cities looking to post cameras to state highways aren’t motivated to fill city coffers.

Another bill – HB2442 – would have made it easier for drivers nabbed for speeding by cameras to escape fines and points on their licenses. It would have allowed people to have three photo-radar tickets dismissed if they are willing to attend traffic school within any 24-month period. Arizona law now allows one.