In Arizona, Let the Driver Beware


Each week I get solicitations in the mail from tourism interests in Arizona inviting me to please come visit. It’s a beautiful state and a personal favorite. Over the years, I have visited dozens of times. But Arizona shouldn’t expect me to come again any time soon. Why not? I just don’t feel it is safe to drive there anymore. And if the Office of Tourism is wondering why I feel this way, I suggest it ask the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

The safety department is charged with administering the state’s stepped-up use of “photo enforcement” zones to monitor traffic speeds. Arizona plans to have at least 60 stationary cameras and 40 mobile camera vans on the roads this year.

(Read More…)

56 Responses to In Arizona, Let the Driver Beware

  1. RPr says:

    now the national press is steering everyone away from Arizona.

    everyone say thank you redflex LOL

  2. geez says:

    ya… funny
    kinda strange how the first two incedents he talked about didn’t even have anything to do with photo radar. Anyone knows, like he said, traveling the backroads of arizona, when the speed limit drops a couple times is most likely an immigration checkpoint. Nothing more. The second time was a construction zone, and the third also, but only on the third time was photo enforcement actually present. More twisted stories.
    The only reason anyone gets of the highway and stalls abit before passing something having to do with law enforcement is to sober up a bit or throw away whatever illeagle they are carrying.

  3. Law A.Bidingcitizen says:

    well to that i say thanks for visiting jerry and if thats the way you feel then go to new mexico!!!!

    i have to question his “arizonans are up in arms” comment… as that is certainly NOT the case…. in fact the non violent group, camerafraud, cant even get 10 people to show up at a street corner protest!!!

    if someone doesnt want to visit here cause they may have to obey the laws… gosh …do we really need them here? i say no freaking way!!!

  4. Doc says:

    RPr-Hey hey hey now! See HERE! Don’t forget ats AND th’ A2Z mob…a.k.a. DPS! Give credit for totalitarianism where it’s due!

  5. jgunn says:

    The rental car companies in AZ should offer a GPS/radar speed cam detector device as optional equipment with a small charge of course. That would be money! Hey at least someone besides Australia will be able to profit off the $peed camera$! It seems that Mesa and the state of AZ sure aren’t making any greenbacks from the venture.

  6. I'm Back says:

    Admin,
    If one of you could be so kind, I’ve got an ASU Grad student who wants to do a class project on Camerafraud. Please email!

  7. duece says:

    How dare the State of Arizona enforce traffic laws. People from out of state should be allowed to come here and drive however they want. What is DPS doing to our state?

  8. Glyph says:

    I doubt anyone wants to come here and disregard our driving laws, but if the perception among out-of-state tourists and motorists is that Arizona is out to get them with sneaky speed traps and questionable signage, then tourism will suffer.
    Let me underscore my point about perception. It doesn’t have to be true (for those who will want to attack me for the above paragraph), but if enough people read the articles in the New York Times and Car & Driver, then it won’t matter if it’s true or not because people will still stop visiting and spending money in Arizona. What will matter is the lost tourism revenue that the state will try to recover with a new type of photo enforcement-type scheme.

  9. Dan G. says:

    Anyone got a pickaxe?

  10. Mike says:

    Don’t worry, I’m sure it won’t affect the tourism in Australia so you guys are safe.

  11. Stacey says:

    Tourists already complain about the ridiculous cost to rent a car from an airport here in Arizona. They should get a kick out of the photoo radar cameras.

    Maybe the hotels and car rental agencies can offer photo radar insurance.

    It will be the tourists that cause the accidents in Arizona. Their unfamiliarity with photo radar cameras will harm those that live in Arizona as they will be the ones ramming your head through a windshield as you slow down for the camera.

  12. geez says:

    Like you about did the other day?

  13. Law A.Bidingcitizen says:

    can not be anymore dangerous than you stacey..maybe i should add on stacey insurance to my policy!!!

  14. Law A.Bidingcitizen says:

    stacey… your idea to protest at the dps office is rather silly… they dont care what you think…. your time would be better served collecting signatures …. and a few people is all you will get to come out anyway!!! the numbers for protests is trending downward!!!

  15. “Maybe the hotels and car rental agencies can offer photo radar insurance.”

    Actually that’s a great idea, all their insurance has to be is that they won’t tell Redflex who rented the car. Easy money, and another illustration of the limitations of photo enforcement.

  16. guttersn1pe says:

    Stacey – I think that’s a brilliant idea. We know there’s no way Redflex, ATS or DPS can collect a traffic fine from a corporation. You need a driver. So if you pay the insurance, the company just refuses to identify the driver. The driver wins. The company wins. I like it!

    In these financially uncertain times, it’s that kind of out-of-the-box thinking that’ll turn things around for private businesses.

  17. geez says:

    So this would give you a license to speed? And if you get in a speed related accident, god forbid hurt someone else, your off the hook huh?

  18. guttersn1pe says:

    Absolutely not. A law enforcement officer could stop an individual with this insurance at any time, for any traffic violation, and issue them a citation.

  19. BJ says:

    Off-topic, but important… For those of us following Sam Crump’s HB2106 – the ban of photo radar systems…

    There’s some BAD NEWS COMING.

    The Appropriations committee is screwing with Sam Crump’s HB2106 – the first bill to ban photo radar – by attaching some dubious-sounding Amendments.

    http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=HB2106 – Look at the proposed amendment.

    1) They’re extending the camera system to June 2010 – not killing it immediately.
    2) They’re appropriating monies from it to fill state budget needs, making the cameras a set part of the budget vs. cutting off the revenue streams in preparation to kill the system.

    This last point looks like the real deal breaker for me:

    They’re legalizing the use of the streaming video to catch criminal “investigations”. Straight from the amendment text:

    “28-1203. Streaming video; use
    Any streaming video that results from a photo enforcement system may be used only for criminal investigations and criminal prosecutions. ”

    They’re saying that they can use the video from these speed cameras to prosecute ALL criminal activity – not just speeding. It’s a potential back door opening for the legalization of a true Big Brother 1.0 video monitoring system.

    Maybe I am being paranoid, but IMO, these amendments look BAD and need to be stopped. What do you all think?

  20. Doc says:

    ALL-What this means is that you pick up th’ phone, & CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS! (probably oughtta’ do it now if you can…) Let them know what you think, AFTER you ask for clairification on the changes in the wording. Then, WRITE down WHO you spoke too, & WHAT they said, & the DATE. This is Remembering…
    F R E E D O M ! ! !-Doc from Prescott

  21. guttersn1pe says:

    Well – there’s a shocker.

  22. Doc says:

    O.K.-I just got off the phone with Congressman Tobin’s office. I KNOW what the changes sound like in this modified version of HB2106, however-what Emilio, the congressman’s aide, told me was that after you filter out all the legalise, it means that the last day for scameras in THE STATE,(if this is the version that gets passed) both dps AND municipal (ie;tuscon, star valley, prescott valley, etc…) scameras is July 16th, 2010. Why the extended date, I asked. He explained to me that th’ way th’ contract was written,(thanks j-no, DAMMITT!!!) any gettin’ out of it BEFORE that date would co$t us. (th’ state…) I know Congressman Tobin personally, & he’s against scameras! So, unless he’s gettin lied too, which in fact does happen down @ th’ copperdome, that’s my report.

    Remember…F R E E D O M ! ! !-Doc from Prescott

  23. BJ says:

    I appreciate your research Doc, and I feel a little better (assuming that he’s not getting lied to, as you suggest).

    That makes sense about the date – thanks again Janet…

    The part about the money being used from the camera funds to fund police operations still sucks, but I guess it makes sense that as long as the system is still functioning, the collected sucker money goes for those purposes and not some other grab bag state budget item.

    However, that part about the video being legalized… why do they have to put it into law that the “speed cameras” video can be used as evidence to prosecute “criminal activities” without specifically narrowing it down to activities directly having to do with camera vandalism? IANAL, but that sounds like a glaring loophole in the law that should be closed…

    Again, thanks for the update.

  24. Doc says:

    It’s my Honor to give you correct info…Thank You.
    Th’ streaming video becomes more restricted on their part, not ours, if I’m understanding correctly. What I believe that part means is that th’ A2Z Mob CAN NOT use that video for ANYTHING BUT CRIMINAL ACTIVITY. I’m not exactly sure what constitutes “criminal” speed, I believe it’s 20+mph over the posted limit. THEN th’ video could be called into play. In Maricopa Co., however, that points moot, as C.A. Thomas has already stated that he won’t prosecute any criminal charges on anyone whose case is based solely on scamera evidence. However, while Congressman Tobin’s a pretty sharp guy, he’s busted other folks @ th’ copper dome lyin’ to him B-4…so lets sit back & observe th’ play.

    This doesn’t preclude that each & every one of us needs to contact their representatives @ th’ copper dome & let ’em know that A)we’re on point & B)we’re not budging on our goal to eradicate our state of these scameras, as Mississippi has ( I pointed that very state out to Emilio…).

    Again, My pleasure to provide the TRUTH!

    Remember…F R E E D O M ! ! !-Doc from Prescott

  25. James Howard says:

    Thanks for your work, Doc. I have already written to my State Senator (Al Melvin), and my Reps (Nancy Young Wright and Vic Williams). Al Melvin wrote back that he thinks the cameras are just a tax, and therefore he opposes them. Nancy Young Wright wrote back and said she supports photo enforcement because she thinks it improves safety, and she will get back to me on what is going on at River and Oracle (she hasn’t gotten back to me and it has been a few weeks). Vic Williams never responded. Time for some phone calls.

  26. Law A.Bidingcitizen says:

    another defeat as this bill will never get off the floor and as camerafrud will die a slow death!!

  27. When they reply back that they support them because they improve safety, ask them if they have seen any third party, objective data to support their assumption. Then point out the Sheriff Babeu of Pinal county removed them because he saw fatalities double where cameras were installed: http://www.azfamily.com/video/3tvextra-index.html?nvid=324071&shu=1

  28. geez says:

    Ya, and then let them know how Bubu completly lied about the stats.
    http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/departments/nrd-30/ncsa/STSI/4_AZ/2007/4_AZ_2007.htm

  29. Shane says:

    When I lived in STL I made it a point to avoid any city that used the red-light commie cams, and then voice that their city councils. Of course I got a few messages about how they didn’t care, after all, one person won’t be missed, and had a very lengthy exchange with one. This one proceeded to take 2000 characters to give me his life story and why he liked photo enforcement. For the children. Never got a response when I asked why if it was for the children they used the busiest intersection in town that wasn’t near a school.

    Haven’t had any reason to go to AZ for work, and quite honestly, I have no desire to go there personally either. Sort of like how I avoid Boulder (33 sq. miles surrounded by reality). I remember my brief experience with the 101 when I was there two summers ago and they just started putting these bloody things up. Every slammed the brakes for the flashes ahead, then sped right back up past it.

    I really do not see how anyone can in good conscious support these things. When in traffic, you should drive the speed that everyone else is driving. The dangerous people are the ones who are driving well above or well below the prevailing speed of any highway. I’m currently working in Toronto and while the speed limit is 100 KPH (62 MPH) I’m routinely doing 140 KPH during my commute as everyone else around me is at the same speed. Coming back from Niagara I was holding 125 most of the way.

    The US needs to look more closely at smarter highways. Cameras tickets aren’t the answer to every problem. Better technology is. Use those cameras to monitor traffic conditions and change the speed limit accordingly like the German Autobahn. Then have the police make a concerted effort to remove reckless drivers, young and old, from the road. As someone who admittedly breaks the speed limit, and has logged many miles on the German Autobahn; I can assure you I am much more alert and aware at high speeds. I don’t use the phone, I don’t eat, drink a soda, etc; I concentrate on driving.

    If the cameras could catch reckless drivers, people who undertake (pass on the right), people who force people to undertake (left lane hogs), and drunk drivers; they might get a modicum of support from me. But it is a lot easier to assign a number and let a machine do the work of doling out ticket after tickets and letting the government enjoy the revenue stream. At Sunday night on I-70 in eastern colorado I see no reason why you couldn’t drive 100 MPH, but in downtown, I see no good reason to drive those speeds. Sadly, the common sense speed does not equate to white is posted on that black and white sign, and a lot of times that speed is manipulated for the all-mighty dollar.

    Recently Denver just increased the speed limit on I-25 through the outlying parts of the city. From 60 and some cases 55 to 65, and from 55 to 60. Traffic flows more efficiently and accidents have actually been reduced.

    1984 was a warning, not an instruction manual.

  30. I'm Back says:

    Thanks for the fresh perspective Shane. I couldn’t agree with you more.

  31. Shane says:

    You’re welcome. Sorry for the typing errors. I’ve slept four hours in the last 24. Time to grab a few more hours and get back to the grind. Hopefully the commie-cams won’t catch me here in Ontario, but I’ve yet to see them. I suspicion if there are any they are well hidden.

  32. Geez, the stats you linked to mentioned nothing about the camera locations in Pinal County. Try again. The sheriff’s stats are from locations where cameras were installed not the whole county.

  33. geez says:

    He said nothing about his stats being from only where camera’s were. You try again.

  34. You need to listen again. “…we’ve actually seen from 2007-2008 our actual injury accidents and fatalities actually doubled IN THE AREAS IN PINAL COUNTY where we used these photo radar cameras.”

    And did you stats include 2008?

    Did you even LISTEN to it?

  35. guttersn1pe says:

    Trolls don’t listen

  36. Joe says:

    While you all know I’m stauchly against photo radar, I think this article was written in a suspicious manner. First, he mischaracterizes the signs. We all know they say “Photo enforcement zone”. He speaks as if the photo radar vans are not completely easy to spot. I mean, c’mon people, let’s get real here.

    My deal is that these photo installations should not be deployed in the first place. But mister, please don’t portray us Arzonans as moronic, weak kittens being led to slaughter. We can read.

  37. Walter says:

    RPr…How is it legal that a government official could get a $1 per ticket kick back on a Photo Radar contract??????? Or even a per month bonus for it?????That is outrageous! Someone had better be on their way to prison.

  38. Doc says:

    Well, getting a copy of the contract would be a matter of getting ahold of the town offices & making a request. Then, you’d have to pay for it, (whatever they charge…) then get it mailed to you. Or, you could GO to Star Valley & do it. That would be an eye opener for you, & Walter’s correct. If you saw Star Valley, you’d go,”$160,000.00 a YEAR to run THIS JOINT?!?!?” Star Valley LITERALLY is about a mile long…with NO stop light. I pass through there twice a year on this motorcycle ride I do. And EVERY TIME WITHOUT FAIL, I laugh my a$$ off!!! They’ve got a “gentlemens club”…Ya’ just gotta’ see it to believe it! So, combine that, with a guy whose name is…Vito…you get th’ idea.

    Now fuggeddabout it.

    Remember…F R E E D O M ! ! !-Doc from Prescott

  39. geez says:

    I’m not gonna spend time trying to find the post whomever here that -claimed- “I have a friend that worked at ATS doing installations, and he told me that ATS is starting to lay people off due to the downturn of the buisness” or something like that…

    http://www.azcentral.com/community/scottsdale/articles/2009/03/20/20090320sr-ATS0321.html

  40. Walter says:

    All I can tell you is what the guy told me. I’m not sure he worked for ATS. He just said he worked for a company that installed the cameras. I may have miss stated that earlier.

    Besides If you believe every thing a PR statement says. You’ll buy anything. I still have that bridge I was trying to sell LAB.

  41. Walter says:

    Geezer..

    I think you may have missed my main point in that post. The post had more to do with how easy it was to gather signatures. Sorry If I didn’t make my point clear enough.

    There were 10 people on his softball team. He and his wife/girlfriend didn’t sign. One person was too young to register to vote. Only one person didn’t sign because he didn’t want to cause problems with his friend. EVERYONE else on his team signed the petition. With him there the whole time. Saying that, Them signing the petition was going to cost him his job. And that some people had already lost their jobs. Maybe he said that to try to get people not to sign, I don’t know. They pretty much all told him to find another job. Anyway I got 6 out of 10 on his team to sign. I’m sure if I could find his friend without him there that he would sign it too.

    Soooo… After November of next year there will be how many more unemployed people in the phoenix area?

  42. Michael F. says:

    Just got back from AZ and was “flashed” by photo radar on SR 51 on my way to the airport yesterday afternoon. I was doing 67 (with cruise control) in a 65 zone when suddenly the speed dropped to 55 but I didn’t see any signs stating so until it was too late. Guess I’ll get a ticket in the mail in a few weeks, provided Budget gets served and passes it on to me as the renter. Just glad I live in Alaska where photo radar was deemed illegal by the courts back in 1997!

  43. Michael, it’s OK, you can trash the ticket. They won’t bother to serve you.

  44. Walter says:

    Just DON’T go to the web site listed on the ticket to look at the pictures.

  45. Paul E says:

    This is a bit off topic, but it’s worthy of the post. I decided to contest my Tucson city “citation” for running a red light on a left turn, camera enforced, intersection. The following link will take you to the full audio transcript of the proceeding. If you think about contesting a ticket in Tucson’s traffic court, don’t waste your time. I’m pretty sure the cop “representing” the city perjured himself when I asked him what investigation takes place when the perpetrator carries an out-of-state license plate. He assured the court that the Tucson Police Department pursues everyone, which I don’t believe is true. So if you are from out of state, according to him, they are supposedly going to try to chase you down. Incidentally, AAA has listed Arizona as a high enforcement state.

    The link to the audio is at http://tucsonredlightrunner.blogspot.com/. The whole thing runs and hour, so have some coffee or a glass of wine.

  46. Michael F. says:

    That’s what my brother-in-law told me as well (that they wouldn’t serve me) but since I was in a rental car and I’m a regular customer of Budget, wouldn’t they have a record of an unpaid ticket and prevent me from future rentals until it was paid in full? The only other time I’ve been ticketed in a rental was here in Alaska and it was only a $75 fee for doing 30 in a 25 zone. The ticket was presented to me on-spot and I simply paid it by mail and all was settled. I’ve never been busted by photo radar before. We had it here in Anchorage for several years but the courts said it was unlawful and the practice was stopped 12 years ago.

  47. Jim says:

    I too will not visit Arizona again. I will not spend any of my hard earned money in that money grabbing state. These cameras are worse than a motorcycle cop hiding behind a billboard just waiting to catch speeders. Arizona tourism, you got a problem.

  48. Glyph says:

    Jim, I can understand your frustration. I’m sure you can imagine what it’s like to live here as opposed to simply visiting.

    Arizona Tourism isn’t the problem, Arizona DPS and “I guess I’ll jump ship now” Janet Nopalitano are the problem. Once we’re rid of these cameras, I hope you’ll come back to see all the amazing things this state has to offer. I moved here from Southern California about 15 years ago, and just fell in love with the place. Maybe one day you will too.

  49. Law A.Bidingcitizen says:

    jim.. give mexico a try.. they dont seem to have ANY laws down there and certainly not traffic laws.. you may find it to your liking!!!

    this clown even has a problem with regular cops doing their job

  50. Doc says:

    Oh, HEY Everybody! Look what th’ cat dragged in! It’s troll-meister LAB! Quick, everybody HURL!

  51. Shane says:

    I have to laugh. I’ve driven in Mexico and they have traffic laws. Granted traffic in Mexico city is so congested it doesn’t matter, and enforcement is questionable, and often open to bribes; but isn’t that similar to what ATS is doing? I wonder how many ATS employees have bribed their way out of a ticket by clicking delete.

    And as far as cops on motorcycles go, I find they are as much of a nuisance as the cameras. If the cops were only worried about getting dangerous people off the road, not making a quota, their job might get a small modicum of honour.

    Funny story … about a month ago I was driving in Missouri. Myself and about three or four other cars were on a rural interstate doing a nice little clip above the speed limit. We were in the right lane, and there was hardly any traffic. We met a state trooper and as he crossed the median to come after us, he must have forgot about the rain storm the night before. He got stuck right in the middle, mud being flung everywhere by his tires. HEHE.

  52. RWP says:

    What the h*(( are you pepole afraid of? Obey the dame speed limit and quit driving like its a nascar raceway out there and you will have no problems. Is that to simple for you all to figure out? Its people like you that have broken the law for so long that have brought this upon yourselves. But it not only effects you but those of us that do obey the law pay with higher insurance too. Pull your f’in heads outta your asses and get read of the “ALL ABOUT ME” attitude,think about who else might be effected by something you do and this world will be a better place!

  53. RWP says:

    As for those who think the radar van guy got what he deserved, May God have mercy your soul and I hope your families never have to recieve the call his wife and family got! He was a fellow human being for God sake! Have we become so barbarck that we shoot people for doing there job just because we dont like what they do?

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