PHOENIX — Cities that have installed or wish to install photo radar systems along state highways would have to provide statistics on speeders and accidents if a lawmaker has her way.
Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, said HB 2477 seeks a middle ground between those who support and deride photo radar.
“If a city can prove there is a public safety reason to put photo radar on state highways, they can do so,” she said.
The measure has been assigned to the House Transportation Committee, where it has yet to be scheduled for a hearing.
Lesko said she began considering the bill after redistricting placed El Mirage, which has photo radar cameras along Grand Avenue/U.S. 60, in her district.
Globe, Prescott Valley, Show Low, Star Valley, Superior and Tucson also have photo radar cameras on state highways, Lesko said.
Unpopular with many state leaders, photo radar systems have disappeared in many areas in recent years. In 2008, Arizona became one of the first states to install photo radar along interstate freeways, but it shut them down less than two years later rather than renew a contract with Redflex Traffic Systems.
Lawmakers have continued attempting to curtail the cameras since. That includes laws limiting where photo radar systems can be placed relative to speed limit signs and requiring authorities to disclose that owners of vehicles caught on cameras don’t have to respond to notices.
Communities are still able to install cameras along state highways after submitting an encroachment permit to the Arizona Department of Transportation. ADOT reviews these permits on a case-by-case basis, department spokesman Timothy Tait said in an email.
“From ADOT’s perspective, the permitting process for these cameras is a matter of local control and is handled as routine,” he said. “If the city completes all of the permit requirements, the permits are granted.”
Lesko contends that the permit process doesn’t adequately ensure that the photo radar systems benefit public safety.
“There’s no uniform basis for determining criteria for cities,” she said.
Her bill would require communities to provide ADOT statistics on how many vehicles drive daily along the section of state highway where the cameras would be installed or have been installed, the percentage of these vehicles that speed and reports of accidents along that stretch.
Communities would have to re-apply to ADOT every three years by providing updated statistics.
Ryan Peters, legislative associate for the Arizona League of Cities and Towns, said there doesn’t appear to be any substantial difference between HB 2477′s provisions and the existing ADOT application. He said ADOT already requires towns to periodically renew their photo radar permits.
“My understanding is this is not a change,” he said. “They already use a program similar to this.”
El Mirage City Manager Spencer Isom said in an email statement that the city would seek renewal of its ADOT permit. He said photo radar has made a difference in El Mirage, as the number of incidents involving vehicles traveling 11 mph or more over the speed limit has decreased.
“I don’t think anyone, myself included, likes getting a speed citation,” he said. “However, it is hard to explain traveling 11 mph above the lawful speed.”
El Mirage City Councilman James McPhetres said he approached Lesko about regulating the cameras after receiving complaints from travelers who were upset by photo radar tickets.
“Just because you’re speeding doesn’t make it dangerous,” he said. “A camera can’t determine whether going 56 in a 45 is safe.”
- Affordable small home makeovers for Mother's Day
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon
- What you need to know about Alzheimer's disease in Arizona
- Spring clean your windows like a pro with these 8 tips
- 7 films that should have won best-picture Oscars
- New plumbing technology saves money and improves your home
- Survey shows Arizona CFOs optimistic about 2016
- How chronic pain can affect your love life