Skip to Content
Streetsblog San Francisco home
Streetsblog San Francisco home
Log In

Arizona Nixes Speed-Limit Enforcement Cameras

In the latest in a series of high-profile conservative
moves, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's (R) administration has announced it
will stop using cameras to enforce speed limits on the state's highways
-- ending a program once billed as a boon to road safety that would also
help raise revenue.

dps_killer_3.jpgA speed-camera image of the car
belonging to Thomas Destories,
accused last year of
killing a speed camera worker. (Photo: Phx.
New Times

The end of the speed-limit enforcement program, first
reported by
the Arizona Republic, came after months of stinging
criticism from conservative groups that viewed the cameras as an
violation of drivers' rights. Arizona drivers also have mounted their
own rebellions against the speed cameras, with one
a monkey mask to escape liability and others blocking
the lenses
with Silly String, Post-Its, or other items.

The cameras are programmed to only notice drivers who exceed posted
speed limits by more than 10 miles per hour, with some geared to
monitor red-light infractions and illegal turns. The fines for violators
exceed $150, although the Department of Public Safety canceled any
ticket that was not hand-delivered to drivers within 120 days.

Brewer's Democratic predecessor as governor, now-Secretary of
Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, started the enforcement camera
program in 2008. Napolitano touted its road safety benefits in
explaining her move, describing the state's dwindling coffers as a
secondary concern.

"[T]he plain fact of the
matter is from a public safety perspective, that the photo radar has
proven to be a technology that actually helps road safety and we would
have proposed this irrespective of the downturn in revenue numbers," she
told the AP
at the time.

But the notion that the cameras were employed first and foremost as
a money-maker for the state proved enduring. As the Republic reported

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter