State to eliminate speeding cameras; advocates warn of increase in Arizona car accidents

The Associated Press reports that Arizona will end its controversial traffic camera program, aimed at catching highway speeders and reducing Arizona car accidents.

As we reported last month on our Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, authorities in Mesa credit red-light cameras with a decline in Mesa car accidents. Such cameras in use by local governments will not be affected by the state’s decision.

Gov. Jan Brewer announced her intentions to end the state program earlier this year. Last week, a non-renewal letter was sent to the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the private company that operates the state cameras. The state’s 36 fixed cameras will be turned off and the 40 vans will be taken off the highways on June 16 when the state contract expires. The cameras were introduced in September 2008 and all 76 were running by January 2009.

The cameras captured images of speeders going 11 mph or more over the limit and sent tickets in the mail. The state had estimated $90 million in revenue during the first year, although that proved optimistic and revenue fell short as many motorists simply ignored the notices sent by mail.

The Arizona Republic slammed the decision as a mistake, citing reports of a nearly 20 percent drop in Arizona traffic fatalities, which equates to two dozen lives saved. The paper noted the cameras brought in $63.5 million and motorists had ample warning with signs warning of camera placement.

“When the cameras come down, the state might as well remove speed-limit signs, too,” the Republic wrote. “They’ll be roadside decoration, with no more effect on drivers than the designs on the sound walls.”

If you have been injured in a traffic accident, contact the Arizona injury lawyers at Abels & Annes for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (602) 819-5191 today.