JIM SHARPE

We could learn a lot from (crash test) dummies when it comes to red light cameras

Dec 13, 2023, 2:00 PM | Updated: Dec 14, 2023, 12:00 pm

Many people in Arizona talk about honoring our “pioneering spirit” — and high on that list of people would be conservative politicians.

But one thing that Arizona pioneered (after horses stopped being our primary mode of transportation) is something conservative legislators want to get rid of.

Whether you call it photo radar or photo enforcement, calls to kill off the cameras that detect speed and red light running — have been raised since we first pioneered ’em… waaaay back in 1987 when the town of Paradise Valley became the first place in America to use photo enforcement vans to monitor the speed of cars on their streets.

PV saw such a dramatic decrease in the number — and severity — of collisions, they expanded on photo enforcement to add cameras that detect red light runners. The rest, as they say, is history: Lots of spots in Arizona followed suit. 

But Arizona state Sen. Justine Wadsack wants them done away with.

Her town, Tucson, canned their cameras in 2015. She told our TV partners at ABC15 that when red light cameras were first put in place in the Old Pueblo, there was an increase in crashes, so she’s glad that Tucson saw through what she calls the “scam of red light cameras” — something she also sees as a “money grab” by the government. 

Wadsack is backing a bill that, if passed and signed by the governor, would outlaw these cameras statewide. 

But that’s not likely to happen because Gov. Hobbs vetoed a similar bill back in May that was introduced by state Sen. Wendy Rogers (R-Flagstaff) and sponsored by Wadsack and several other Republicans.

Even though Sen. Wadsack says nobody wants to “drive down the street and know that big government is able to look at them while driving,” and I’m not the biggest fan of the speed-detecting cameras, neither they, nor red-light cameras (which I kinda like), trample my constitutional rights: There is no reasonable expectation of privacy in public. 

The government’s not allowed in my car without my permission, reasonable suspicion, or a warrant, but taking pictures from outside my car — doesn’t run afoul of the U.S. or Arizona constitutions.

I don’t like being held to 40mph while traversing Paradise Valley (it makes it too easy to gaze upon the incredible homes there — fueling my envy), but that town has more millionaires than any other place in Arizona, so their cameras are there for safety — not money grabbing.

And how can anyone argue against red light cameras? We need to get people off the street who don’t give a damn about what color a traffic light is when they enter an intersection. We should post red light runners’ traffic cam picture on a website, automatically give them 8 points on their license, and maybe even sentence them to be crash test dummies — because, seriously, can you think of a more descriptive term for them? 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Jim Sharpe

(Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)...

Jim Sharpe

Meghan McCain won’t forgive Kari — but Lake better hope plenty of other moderates do

KTAR News host Jim Sharpe knows Meghan McCain won't forgive Kari Lake anytime soon, but the Senate candidate better hope moderate Republicans do.

24 hours ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: Sharper Point: Kari Lake trails behind Ruben Gallego in Arizona Senate race amid Meghan McCain drama

Amid ongoing social media drama involving Kari Lake and Meghan McCain, a recent poll conducted by Phoenix-based NPI from Feb. 6-13 reveals that Lake, a Republican candidate, is trailing behind Democrat Ruben Gallego in the Arizona Senate race. Jim Sharpe takes a closer look in Thursday’s Sharper Point commentary. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR […]

1 day ago

Police are looking to identify suspects in an assault at a parking garage near Gilbert Road and Vau...

Jim Sharpe

I hope I’m never NOT shocked by youth violence in the East Valley or elsewhere

KTAR News host Jim Sharpe hopes that the shock of youth violence in the East Valley and elsewhere doesn't go away because it gets normalized.

2 days ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: Can we prevent children from joining violent groups like Gilbert Goons?

On Jim Sharpe’s daily Sharper Point Commentary he shares his worry for his children and who they might hang out with in the years to come. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News

2 days ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: Sharper Point: How are citizens being protected after convicted murderer escaped house arrest?

Convicted murderer Daniel Cahill was apprehended after escaping house arrest over the weekend. Jim Sharpe takes a closer look and ponders how a criminal like him was granted house arrest in the first place in Tuesday’s Sharper Point commentary. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News

3 days ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: Sharper Point: What happens to unaccompanied minors at the border?

The screening and housing process for unaccompanied minors on the border has been a continuous work in progress. Jim Sharpe considers the current state of the process and reflects on past reports regarding children crossing the border alone. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News Photos: John Moore/Getty Images

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

We could learn a lot from (crash test) dummies when it comes to red light cameras