Arizona's controversial experiment with speed-enforcement cameras on state freeways will come to an end this summer, when the Department of Public Safety allows the program to expire.
The DPS sent a letter to camera operator Redflex Traffic Systems this week, informing officials that their contract will not be renewed.
The 78 fixed and mobile photo-enforcement units around the state will be turned off after July 15. Decisions on when and how the cameras will be removed have not yet been made, Redflex officials said.
City photo-enforcement contracts, which deal with speed and red-light cameras, are not affected by the move.
The program incited vandalism against traffic cameras and even violence since its inception two years ago.
Vandals took Silly String, sticky notes and pickaxes to cameras after they were installed.
Last year, Thomas Patrick Destories was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of Redflex technician Doug Georgianni as he sat inside a DPS-owned photo-enforcement vehicle. Destories has pleaded not guilty.
Advocates of the cameras, including some DPS officials, have released studies indicating that the cameras save lives and reduce crashes.
Those studies have been vigorously disputed by camera opponents, who argue that the cameras increase collisions while infringing upon constitutional rights.
In its letter to Redflex, the DPS said that ending the contract represents "a change in the agency's focus," said Shoba Vaitheeswaran, a Redflex spokeswoman. The DPS on Wednesday did not respond to a request for the letter, nor would it comment on the issue."We're undoubtedly disappointed in the decision," Vaitheeswaran said.
She cited a DPS study from October that said the cameras resulted in a 19.2 percent drop in fatal collisions, saving 24 lives. The same study said the cameras allowed DPS officers to make more traffic stops and arrest more criminals.
The DPS has scheduled a complete audit of the system's impact on safety and driving behavior to be completed in the fall. Photo-enforcement supporters had hoped the review would be complete before state officials made any decision about the system.
Opponents of photo enforcement cheered the decision.
"We're happy that DPS will no longer be violating Arizona citizens' constitutional rights," said Shawn Dow, chairman of a November ballot initiative to ban the use of photo enforcement statewide.
Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/05/06/20100506ar...
This is great news, what a money grab this has been. Good to see Arizona doing the right thing. We need to work on the municipalities next for them to see the light on not renewing the red flex contracts.
They were ridiculous in the Phoenix area, seemed like there was one every two miles on the freeways.
In the Tucson area we only had the vans on the freeways.
when I see it
On the radio news this morning they reported that the AZ DPS will pulling the vans as well. Don't know if that will happen. Possible though with the budget problems we're experiencing.
There goes half of the forum topics!
I'm also hearing the vans will go. I wonder about the speed cameras around Prescott Valley. If they're operated by the city, maybe they'll stay. Red light cameras stay, too, right?
From what I get from the sheriff, all the DPS speed cameras are going but the red light cameras will continue as these are city or county cameras only the DPS speed cameras and vans will disappear.
This change is for the fixed and mobile units that are run for DPS only. Cities and counties will still be running both fixed and mobile units.
Meanwhile the DC metro area is adding cameras. I am sick and tired of the government intrusion and added tax with no benefit to residents.
Horray for the GOOD GUYS...
I saw story this morning and rush here to post it...
But..I others are already all over it..
It all starts at the grass roots level.
There is a group gathering signatures to put the redlight/speed camera ban on this year's November ballot. This is supposed to be for all camera's in AZ. Anyone know who to contact to sign the petition?
This page is probably where you need to start
Sign me up glad to see them go.
This gives hope to us all.
rocknicehunter: Thanks for that link. I'm going to drop by on of the shops and sign the initiative. The more signatures the better.
I will be stopping by one of the places to sign as well. Thanks.
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