Tag Archives: photo enforcement

Bill would ban city’s use of photo enforcement

In what is an annual ritual, HB2579 (51st regular session) a group of Republican Arizona legislators would ban city’s and town’s use of photo enforcement. See here for last session’s go-rounds…. photo enforcement seems to be a pre-occupation with some handful of legislators.

Arizona’s legislators have often voiced frustration over being “told what to do” by, say, the Feds. Proponents of such bills, however, don’t appear to have any qualms about telling cities what they can and can’t do. Certainly, not all Republican lawmakers are on board, and cooler heads ultimately (this time, anyway) prevailed, as the bill failed to pass committee; azcentral.com

“I am not in favor of these things, but as a City Council member I will listen to my chief of police,” said Rep. Sonny Borrelli, a Republican from Lake Havasu City and a former City Council member there. “I can’t buy this that nobody knows about them and are being targeted — it’s no surprise.

As I’ve mentioned before… Completely aside from safety issues, 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.

And Another One

HB2477 (51st regular session) is yet another attempt to get rid of photo enforcement. This one harkens back to something i mentioned over a year ago; the legislature is aghast to find the the ARIZONA department of transportation is allowing photo enforcement to be placed along state roads, at the request of local juridictions. Azcentral.com noted in a story about the bill passing the house: “Rep. Carl Seel, R-Phoenix, said he really wants photo enforcement eliminated, because in his view it is unconstitutional. But with measures outlawing it failing again this year, he said the bills that are advancing at least make it harder for cities and towns to set them up.”

[update 4/3/2013: hb2477 passed full senate along party lines, i presume, and moves back to house for what is assured final approval]

Is Photo enforcement Unconstitutional?

I would like to hear Rep. Seel’s reasoning. I’ve never really seen, other than vague claims, that photo enforcement is itself “unconstitutional”. For example, one Arizona legislator told me that was so because of a “constitutional right to face one’s accusers. With PE, the camera machine cannot be cross examined; it is therefore unconstitutional”. Really. He said that. Apparently according to his theory surveillance video, say in a bank robbery, is unconstitutional as well.

Googling around; I see a county court ruling in Florida, that has been set aside; awaiting review. In any event, there is apparently zero case law in Arizona holding PE to be unconstitutional. And after over 7 years (the loop 101 demonstration project began in the fall of 2005), and untold thousands of cases; I think it’s safe to say that photo enforcement is constitutional in Arizona.

Process Servers and Arizona’s Rules of Civil Procedure

handy link with all Arizona’s Rules for Civil Procedure [which lawyers cite as Ariz.R.Civ.P.]  that are of interest to process servers. (e.g. rule 4.1 and 4.2)….

The *statutory* rules about how a ticket gets served is in 28-1593. Service of uniform traffic ticket and complaint,see also 28-1592. Commencement of action. Continue reading Process Servers and Arizona’s Rules of Civil Procedure

Arrest made in dragging murder

[Marquez was sentenced in December 2012 after being convicted of first degree murder]

An unexpected benefit of photo-enforcement? Or maybe it should be obvious that bad guys have a tendency to be bad drivers?

Police reported Wednesday that they have solved two savage and infamous Valley crimes: one a 21-year-old Arizona State University student dragged to death in May…

Sifting through 500 leads, using photo enforcement, advanced computers and the U.S. Marshals Service, Tempe police Tuesday booked Joseluis Marquez, 20, on first-degree murder in the death of Kyleigh Sousa, 21.

A photo-enforcement picture of Marquez driving a golden 2008 Dodge Charger, snapped May 8 in Tempe, was key to the arrest, said Tempe Police Cmdr. Kim Hale. The car, a rental, was traced to the Los Angeles area.

Finding the car, detectives worked backward to identify the driver, who traveled between California and Arizona, police said.

It was 18 days after the photo was snapped that Sousa was fatally dragged outside an International House of Pancakes at 225 E. Apache Blvd. Marquez, driving the Dodge, snatched her purse and drove off, police say. Sousa, her hands entangled in the purse straps, was dragged 30 feet before falling to the asphalt parking lot, suffering a skull fracture and detached artery.


I don’t quite follow the timeline, or the exact role the picture played.

More AZ photo enforcement politics

Much to the chagrin of the small group of individuals who run the Arizona legislature; it’s been discovered that ADOT (yes, the ARIZONA dept of trans) has routinely been allowing cities to install and use photo enforcement along state highways that run through their jurisdictions. ADOT appears to be following a common sense approach to allowing them: “ADOT has generally given cities and towns permission to install photo-enforcement cameras on state rights of way where the municipality takes the lead on enforcing traffic laws and responding to emergencies”. We can look forward to polictical pressure on ADOT to deny all requests.

In 2010, the (Arizona State) DPS (Dept of Public Safety — i.e. the state police) in what was presumably a politically-motivated decision by Brewer’s appointee, ended all use of cameras along state freeways.

We can look forward to this group of legislators, once again (click here for a roundup of last session’s half-dozen bills), spending an inordnate amount of legislative energy into preventing cities and towns from enforcing traffic laws. Their claim is they actually support enforcement; they just prefer it be done live and in person. This is, of course, disengenous — they know that the costs involved in putting additional sworn officers out on the street is horrendously high, and oh by the way, they (the legislature) don’t have any money to help do so. Continue reading More AZ photo enforcement politics

One Arizona legislator REALLY doesn’t like photo red cameras

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.

Mesa traffic cameras to stay 2 more years

Story from AZ republic (via Tucson Citizen site; i don’t see it online otherwise. Also it ran in condensed form as an east valley brief 2/14/2012) Mesa traffic cameras to stay 2 more years.

Story mentions the Sean Casey fatality from 2005 where a junior high school student was killed while walking his bike through a crosswalk with a green light when he got whacked by a motorist who ran a red light. This whole story seems to have been a huge miscarriage of justice. A judge dismissed neg hom charges against the driver. And to add insult to injury, according to news reports the driver did not even pay her fine, or attend traffic school as ordered.

In any event the gist of the story is camera enforcement (among other factors) is credited with reducing crashes, according to Mesa Police commander Bill Peters: “Crashes at intersections now monitored by cameras dropped from 694 in 2005 to 370 in 2010, Peters said.”

Moto-cyclist killed in Tempe hit-and-run

In an update to this July 2010 story, as the City of Tempe prepares to turn off its photo-enforcement effective July 19, 2011, police mention that those very photos were instrumental in capturing the suspect, Cody Davis, who fled the scene. See Police: Photo enforcement’s impact goes well beyond traffic infractions from the EVtrib.

UPDATE: Police arrest suspect 7/17/2010 [abc15] “Tempe police say Cody Ryan Davis has been charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident in the death of Bradley Jason Scott, 32, Continue reading Moto-cyclist killed in Tempe hit-and-run

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 Continue reading Arizona legislators don’t like photo red cameras

More on Arizona politics and photo-radar

So this is in the wake of the formal announcement a couple of weeks ago that DPS would be terminating the contract for highway photo-radar enforcement.

Photo speed-enforcement may not be gone for good.

Gov. Jan Brewer doesn’t like photo enforcement; she put in her guy to direct DPS, Robert Halliday.

a “top commander” (number 2?), Lt. Col. Jack Hegarty seems to sort of like it. In any event he lobbied for a law (bill number? “The DPS bill passed and was signed into law on May 7” ) that that give DPS control of any future program. This is probably a good idea, as it at least theoretically removes some of the opportunities for political meddling.

Bill s from the 49th 2nd Regular session relating to photo enforcement:

  • SB1018 (Chapter 266): Photo enforcement procedures. apparently this it the bill referred to in the article, but i don’t really see how this gives DPS control(?)
  • HB2338 (Chapter 213): the yellow light business.

“When Redflex alerted the media that DPS was canceling the contract, speculation was rampant that Gov. Jan Brewer made the decision to dismantle the controversial system to score political points. But Brewer’s nominee to run DPS, Robert Halliday, insisted the decision was his”