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Cameras on Arizona highways watching trucks, not speeders

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. — Cameras
being mounted on poles at several locations along rural freeways are to monitor
commercial trucks’ compliance with regulations and weight restrictions, not to
catch speeders, the Arizona Department of Transportation said.

Cameras are being installed near the Sacaton Rest Area on Interstate 10, the
McGuireveille Rest Area on Interstate 17 and the Canoa Ranch Rest Area on
Interstate 19, the Casa Grande Dispatch reported.

The state had a speed camera program that then-Gov. Jan Brewer allowed to
expire in 2010, but ADOT spokesman Harold Sanders said the current program has
nothing to do with speed enforcement.

“This is not photo enforcement. We get so many calls on that from the general
public because once upon a time photo enforcement did exist,” Sanders said.
“But it has absolutely no ability to capture that type of information.”

The new system includes the cameras, sensors embedded in pavement and
electronic signs that direct truckers without proper documentation to pull into
a rest area for a secondary inspection.

“The state mandates that commercial vehicles have specific types of equipment
that they are required to operate physically, and we are mandated to enforce
that along with the Arizona Department of Public Safety,” Sanders said.

He said ADOT is using the system to maximize “the use of personnel that we
have because commercial truck traffic is huge. And it is impossible to stop
every truck to do an inspection. It is just a waste of time.”

Sanders said the equipment will only be in use when a rest area is staffed by
ADOT enforcement personnel.

The system should be up and running within a month, he said.

The cost of the system is $7.5 million, including $4.5 million for the
technology and $3 million for installation.

The speed-enforcement program ended by Brewer was championed by her
predecessor, Janet Napolitano.

Brewer, who started driving herself again after leaving office in January, said
recently she was surprised by other drivers’ high speeds on freeways and said
she regretted not continuing the camera program.