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Test of county speed cameras begins Friday

Tickets will be issued starting April 20

A Pima County photo enforcement camera on East Ina Road and three others will be tested Friday.

A Pima County photo enforcement camera on East Ina Road and three others will be tested Friday.

Speeding motorists will see the light starting this weekend when some of Pima County’s photo enforcement cameras start flashing during a test run.

The cameras won’t be recording license plates of speeders – yet.

“The company will operate the cameras’ strobe lights on April 10 to 12 (Friday through Sunday) and April 28 to 30 for testing purposes only,” Lindy Funkhauser, assistant county administrator for justice and law enforcement, said Thursday.

“This will be to test the systems’ functionality and not for the purpose of issuing notices of violations.”

Pima County is following the lead of Tucson and the Arizona Department of Public Safety in employing speed limit enforcement cameras.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors earlier this year approved a 10-location system. Four locations will be up and running starting Monday, with the remaining six to be in operation by May 1.

Motorists who speed by the first four active cameras will receive warning notices by mail during the first week of operation, Funkhauser said. Real tickets for those cameras will be issued starting April 20.

Warnings will be sent to violators recorded at the remaining six locations starting May 1. Real tickets will begin May 8.

Fines will range from $183 to $356, not including an automation fee of $18.50 and a photo enforcement fee of $14.75 on each citation.

The county is paying $1.5 million to Scottsdale-based American Traffic Solutions Inc. to set up and operate the system.

The mere presence of the cameras appears to be having an effect on motorists, Funkhauser said.

“Now that they’re up, people seem to be slowing down,” Funkhauser said of informal reports by officers observing the location at North Swan Road and East Calle Barril.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety employs both stationary and mobile speed cameras on interstate highways around the state. There are 36 stationary cameras and 42 mobile units in use now – almost all in Maricopa County.

The agency has two mobile units in the Tucson area – on I-10 and I-19 – that are moved every several hours to different locations, Bart Graves, DPS media relations coordinator, said Thursday.

About 400 citations generated by DPS cameras have been issued to area drivers, Pima County Justice Court records show.

Fines generated by the cameras statewide have produced $7.5 million of revenue for the state.

DPS, contrary to reports published this week of a halt, is still planning more cameras. Graves said DPS will install 22 more camera systems around the state by the end of this year.

Graves said the agency has witnessed a reduction in accident-related deaths since the program began.

“We are seeing statistics here in the Phoenix area that it is saving lives,” Graves said.

The city of Tucson operates one mobile van and four fixed-position cameras – at Tanque Verde and Grant roads, 22nd Street and Wilmot Road, Valencia Road and Nogales Highway, and Oracle and River roads. The cameras photograph license plates of both speeders and red light runners.

According to the latest figures from Tucson City Court, 29,763 citations were issued for both offenses from November 2007 through December 2008.

A red light violation in Tucson costs $280. Speeding fines in the city range from $151 to $366.

The speed camera program in Pima County will be reviewed by the Board of Supervisors before the end of 2009.

The county board approved the cameras as a pilot program by a 3-2 vote.

Republicans Ann Day and Ray Carroll objected, expressing concerns about privacy issues and questioned whether public safety or potential revenues was the main motivation.

More than a dozen bills have been filed in the Legislature to ban photo enforcement systems or to reduce penalties. One bill would ask voters to decide on the Nov. 2, 2010, ballot whether they want cameras.

Another, House Bill 2106, would ban camera systems from state and federal highways, while leaving cities and counties free to use them.

That bill, introduced by Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, would eliminate the DPS photo enforcement program and also ban use of cameras to capture streaming video of all passing vehicles.

Many legislators have said they were unaware that the approved photo enforcement program would allow around-the-clock recording of all vehicles passing camera locations, although the capability was noted in the state contract with the Australian-owned vendor, Redflex Traffic Systems Inc.

H.B. 2106 was approved by the House Rules Committee last month and is awaiting scheduling for the Committee of the Whole, a Biggs spokeswoman said Thursday.

Members of a citizens’ group, CameraFRAUD, are circulating a petition to ban photo enforcement systems throughout the state – including in towns, cities and counties.

They’ll need to get the valid signatures of at least 153,365 registered voters to get the measure on the November 2010 ballot.

“It’s very popular,” Bill Conley, a Pinal County deputy sheriff and CameraFRAUD member, said Thursday. “We can’t print (petitions) fast enough,” he said.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu ended his department’s photo radar van program there after defeating incumbent Sheriff Chris Valdez in the November 2208 election.



The photo enforcement cameras will be in the following areas:

Phase one

• La Cholla at Sunset Road

• Mission Road at Nebraska Street

• Ina Road at Camino de Las Candelas

• Swan Road at Calle Barril

Phase two

• Alvernon Way near Station Master Drive

• Valencia Road near Camino De La Tierra

• Valencia Road near Wilmot Road

• River Road near Country Club Road

• Ruthrauff Road near Rillito Street

• Nogales Highway near Hermans Road


• There will be a seven-day warning period once the cameras are operational. During that time, cameras will take photos and video of speeding motorists, but citations will not be issued. Instead, a warning notice will be sent to the vehicle’s registered owner.

• After the warning period, citations and fines will be issued to anyone exceeding the speed limit by 11 miles per hour.



Miles per hour over the speed limit:

11 mph thru 15 mph: $183

16 mph thru 20 mph: $202

21 mph thru 25 mph: $222

26 mph thru 30 mph: $235

31 mph over: $356

An automation fee of $18.50 and a photo enforcement fee of $14.75 will be assessed on each citation pursuant to local county ordinance.



Arizona Department of Public Safety photo enforcement



Tucson CameraFRAUD


House Bill 2106


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