Our legislative elves have been hard at work trying to de-rail photo-enforcement. Again (click here for last year’s festivities). The biggest single item is supposedly dead as of March 6, 2012 — this would have referred a ballot measure which would prevent cities and towns from using photo-enforcement.
Safety studies have consistently shown a net safety benefit for photo-red enforcement. Net means that there are fewer serious injuries and fatalities. A few studies have shown an increase in the number of collisions accompanying the safety gains. See, e.g. the IIHS study, Red Light Running Kills, linked at trafficsafetycoalition.com. Or more locally, also see Scottsdale-based redmeansstop.org.
Here is a list of items in the current session (50th 2nd Regular. The Spring of 2012) of the Arizona Legislature, assembled by the Traffic Safety Coalition:
- SB1315 – mandate personal service or certified mail for photo enforcement tickets
- SB1316 – mandate that photo enforcement cameras cannot take pictures of red light running violations unless the light has been red for at least one second
- SB1317 – mandate a study of intersections with red light cameras
- SB1318 – force photo enforcement companies to obtain a PI License for each worker
- SCR 1029 – put photo enforcement ban to the voters for approval
As noted above Senate Concurrent Resolution 1029 is for the time-being anyway dead… The first thing I noticed that was odd is that they are all in the senate. Upon closer inspection all four of the the senate bills have only one sponsor, and all four are the same guy; a Frank Antenori (R-30, Tucson). He clearly doesn’t like photo-enforcement, and is apparently making it his life’s work to defeat it’s effectiveness; if not ban it outright.
Aside from safety issues, the cameras can, and do, provide evidence that has been used to solve crimes; including (that I know of) catching a hit-and-run driver who seriously injured a cyclist in Tucson, a hit-and-run-driver who killed a cyclist in Tempe, and a assault-robbery-murderer in Tempe.
Arizona has a particular problem with red-light running; despite improvement over the years, Arizona continues to be over-represented. For example in 2009 Arizona had 37 red light running (RLR) fatalities while New York had only 29…. Arizona being three times as dangerous as New York on a per capita basis.
The words below, written over 10 years ago continue to ring true today, from a 07/13/00 article in USA Today, Ariz. has deadliest red-light runners in USA:
Arizona has the nation’s deadliest red-light runners, with three of the country’s worst cities for fatal intersection crashes, according to a study of federal transportation data obtained by USA TODAY…. Arizona had by far the worst death rate among states, with 6.5 fatalities for every 100,000 people… Arizona also had three of the four most dangerous cities. for red-light fatalities. Phoenix topped all urban areas, followed by Memphis, Mesa and Tucson
In addition, cities with speed limits of 45 mph and higher on surface streets faced more serious red-light -running accidents… The Phoenix police officer says said that with an average of 330 days of sunshine a year, it’s typically usually perfect driving weather. That doesn’t mean motorists drive perfectly, however. Just the opposite. “If we got more rain or inclement weather, maybe it would slow people down some, particularly at the intersections,” Halstead said says. “As it is, they zip around the city at a pretty good clip.” And, according to the institute’s study, Phoenix drivers run red lights at an unrivaled pace. The city has by far the nation’s deadliest rate of fatal red- light running crashes, nearly five times the national average. Arizona and other fast-growing Western states have been particularly stung by red light crashes “because their wide open roads are suddenly seeing schools, businesses, and busy intersections crop up,” says said Phoenix traffic engineer Paul Wellstone. “The West has a reputation for being a drivers’ paradise; a place you can lay on the accelerator and not worry about the traffic and dangers. That’s changing now. Cities are struggling with getting their citizens to slow down.”
The FHWA has a page on red light running.