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.”
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.