Radar ban bill stalled in Arizona

| 5/9/2006

More than a dozen efforts were introduced this year in the Arizona Legislature to rein in the city of Scottsdale’s use of cameras to monitor speeding and collisions on a stretch of Loop 101. The lone effort that remains active has been stalled in the House since February.

Scottsdale received approval late last year from the Arizona Department of Transportation to install cameras for nine months at six locations along a 7.8-mile stretch of the highway from Scottsdale Road to the 90th Street and Pima Road Exit. Since Jan. 22, drivers who exceed the posted 65 mph limit by at least 11 mph have had photos snapped of their vehicles.

Concerned about the path the state may be headed down, a group of state lawmakers offered legislation to rein in the program before it can expand.

For the first month, speeders were only sent warnings. Since then, violators have been fined an average of $157, The Arizona Republic reported.

According to an analysis by the East Valley Tribune, Scottsdale could expect to collect about $21 million in fines during the program that runs until late October.

Among the legislation offered to rein in the Scottsdale enforcement program is an effort by Sen. Thayer Verschoor, R-Gilbert, to prevent other communities from adopting the program. It would require cameras on highways to be shut down Dec. 31.

The camera ban bill – SB1146 – was approved by the Senate and sent to the House where it awaits consideration in the House Rules Committee.

Several bills have died that sought to curb the cameras use.

One bill would have authorized the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles to charge municipalities $200 for processing each camera-triggered enforcement citation.

Another bill sought to reduce the fine for those caught speeding by automated systems from $157 to $100.

One other bill called for all revenue from tickets to be routed into a state transportation fund for highway safety in case the state is held liable for accidents attributed to the cameras.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor