Arizona legislators don’t like photo red cameras

I might mention that the Arizona legislators say they don’t like it when the feds tell them what to do… so here they seek to tell the cites/counties/towns what to do.

Arizona legislators are seeking to prohibit cities and localities from running any sort of photo enforcement, including both speeding and red light cameras. Here is why I like red-light cameras: red light runners compilation and if you don’t like that one there are dozens more like it.

SB1352 (or SCR1029, which would become  yet another ballot initiative, is also in play). As of this minute the senate bill has been narrowly voted down. You can follow the SB1352 here (select the 50th, 1st regular session; if need be)

Republican Sen. Frank Antenori brings up the well-worn chestnut that the only problem at signal-controlled intersections is too-short yellow lights (and this despite the already-statutory requirement to set yellow lights per MUTCD, see last year’s HB2238 discussion ) . Just  watch the video.

Arizona continues to have relatively poor overall traffic safety. Arizona’s fatality rates are around 20% worse than average. Arizona’s rates are well over twice as dangerous as the safest states. Legislators, to the extent they feel any responsibility for this continued poor performance seek to help the situation by trying to remove all photo enforcement because…. oh yeah, I forgot, cameras cause collisions, remember?

Here is an arizona group that appears like it doesn’t dabble in politics:

Here is what  Senate President Russell Pearce, R-Mesa said:

… the cameras, particularly those designed to catch speeders, are built on a misunderstanding of Arizona law. He pointed out that, in most cases, the statute makes it illegal to go faster than “reasonable and prudent.” That, Pearce said, requires a police officer to consider all the factors like weather, time of day and level of traffic, and not just the posted limit. “It is a suggestion, whether we like it or not,” Pearce said. A camera set at a specific trigger point, he said, cannot compensate for those factors

No word on what he thinks about the law requiring stopping at red lights — perhaps he thinks it should be up to the driver to decide? Or maybe there’s a misunderstanding there too?

And switching to speeding for a moment, you should also not take his suggestion lightly (the bit about reasonable and prudent); Exceeding the posted speed limit is in all cases prima facia evidence of violating 28-701 (Arizona’s speeding statute). And his “in most cases” weasel words have some major exceptions, spelled out in 28-701B where the maximum speed limit is absolute; school zones (15mph), residential (25mph), commercial (25 mph).


The IIHS has put up a collection of studies, facts & figures, Q&A’s here. It was also the subject of their Feb monthly status report. Interesting breakdown of who is the victim:

  • 36% The red-light running driver
  • 12% passengers in red light running vehicle
  • 6% pedestrian, bicyclist, other
  • 46% occupants of vehicles that didn’t run light

They didn’t mention red light running bicyclists; they may have been excluded from the sample of 676 red-light-running fatalities in 2009.

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