The unfairness of the speed cameras plastered all around this state has reached an unprecedented, oppressive level. I received a speeding ticket for going 67mph on the 101 in an area that hadn’t been under construction much, and so the speed limit had been 65 for much of the past year. I pulled onto the freeway a couple hundred feet before the speed camera van, which I couldn’t see at night, and never saw the itty-bitty sign that had temporarily been put up in February saying the speed limit was now 55. The photo speed camera van was placed there to essentially trick people who thought the speed limit was 65, in order to collect money.
I went to court yesterday to appeal the ticket. The Justice of the Peace who handled the case also handled similar cases before mine, who had received tickets in that same location, all for going 1, 2, or 3 miles over 65mph. Clearly proving that 40% of us getting these ridiculous kinds of tickets are appealing them. Not surprisingly, I’ve never seen the van in that location again – it obviously generated so many ridiculous tickets like mine that they realized the court appeals were well above 40% and costing more than the cameras were bringing in revenue-wise. The van wasn’t in a location known for accidents, it was temporarily placed in that location because it was hidden behind bushes where drivers wouldn’t see it. A Redflex employee represented the state; there was no police officer or DPS representative there to prosecute the hearing, only this private employee guy.
The Justice of the Peace, who was obviously happy to be slamming down the law around his little fiefdom – unlike the outstanding Justice of the Peace in the West Valley, John Keegan, who throws out all photo speed camera tickets – didn’t care that the speed limit on the 101 has been constantly changing in places over the past year due to construction of a new HOV lane. He also didn’t care about any of my other arguments, which included there was a guy speeding up behind me and so I sped up slightly to get over into the other lane to let him speed on by. It was a very offensive, humiliating proceeding, those of us who had received tickets felt like we were treated like criminals, and the justice of the peace made it clear with some of us that he thought we were lying! Since I wasn’t, it was doubly insulting. This is the kind of unfair experience that spurs people to go to law school and become criminal defense attorneys.
It’s been documented much better than I could do on other sites like The Newspaper that speed cameras don’t work. Government officials admit they’re in place for revenue generation, not safety, and they actually increase accidents because there are more rear-end accidents. And most of the revenue generated doesn’t go to the state, the vast majority goes to the private speed camera company. The little money the government brings in goes to handle photo speed camera ticket appeals and non-necessary government functions like Clean Elections – not the highways. The cost to the courts is huge: Think of it this way – if police officers were giving out speeding tickets, you wouldn’t have all these marginal situations like mine and the others who were in court today. The camera catches all these kinds of incidents that a police officer wouldn’t ticket someone for, and that any normal person would appeal. The extra cost of addressing all of these kind of tickets is not sustainable. It was clear to me that my speeding ticket was not about safety – it won’t add any points to my record. Whereas if that same ticket had been given to me by a police officer, it would have. Where is the equal treatment under the law?
A lot of older people like the speed cameras, under the false impression that they make travel safer. Older people tend to drive slower, so they dislike speeders. Understandable. But if this is really about safety, then why don’t we ticket drivers who are driving too slow? Studies show that older people cause more accidents than the general population. Even though people over age 70 only make up 9% of the population, they cause 14% of all traffic fatalities and 17% of all pedestrian fatalities. And their percentage of the population is growing every year, as humans live longer and longer. “Road safety analysts predict that by 2030, when all baby boomers are at least 65, they will be responsible for 25% of all fatal crashes. In 2005, 11% of fatal crashes involved drivers that old…..Safety and health specialists are especially concerned about drivers 85 and older, who, federal crash statistics show, are involved in three fatal accidents a day.” So, if we’re really going to implement speed cameras for safety, they need to start ticketing drivers who drive too slow. Driving too slow is also dangerous.
The website stopcamerafraud.com is working on an initiative that would ban speed cameras in Arizona. But we hear their effort isn’t doing so well. Fortunately, there is another organization out there that is seriously looking into starting their own initiative. We wish them luck. Speed cameras have been banned in other states. Arizona now has more speed cameras than any other state thanks to Napolitano. What is freedom-loving Arizona doing with these revenue-generators that do nothing for safety and little for state coffers, sending most of the money to the private company operating the cameras?
I’d be interested in hearing from others who have had similar experiences, please leave comments. We will keep you updated on the progress of the new organization and its initiative.