Political Bites: Speed Cameras

Photo-enforcement cameras are due to be shut off July 15 on Valley freeways. Should the program be revived or the cameras left off for good?

Automating the enforcement of laws by non-humans is dangerous ground. It starts to set in motion the erosion of “due process” we often take for granted. Increased revenue and more conscience drivers are wonderful, but not at the expense of eroding our liberties.


  1. Speed cameras were always in the same place. They gave everyone a 10mph buffer. They gave everyone an inch and only lit up those who took a mile.

    Still, they were a revenue generation scheme put in place by politicians who are either unable or unwilling to balance the budget. You can’t preach safety, then fire flash bulbs in people’s faces at night.

    If there was ONE use for these devices, I think it would be in our school zones. Install them there. Activate them during school hours. Set the buffer for 5mph, make the fine $500, and have at least 90% of that money go directly to THAT school’s annual budget.

    No ignoring these tickets either. It’s a 20mph zone. You pay attention or you pay the fine. Ignore the ticket all you want, but our schools need the money, so the fine is added to your next registration renewal.

    Beyond that, our “leaders” and “representatives” need to put construction and tourism in the backseat. This state needs to focus on education, on entrepreneurship, and long term sustainability.

    First it was the tech sector bubble that crashed.
    Now we deal with the housing bubble.

    I don’t know that we’ll get a third strike ten years from now. We need futurists at the wheel with clear visions for the future that are diverse, sustainable, and exciting.

    I’m glad the speed cameras have come down. Phoenix has spent too much time on the gravy train. It’s time we leaned out and became a front runner in the country, making the news for what we’re doing right.

  2. I guess I am confused how a speed camera “erodes our liberties”. The only take effect when you are ELEVEN miles an hour over the speed limit, so I guess you are saying we should be free to drive that way, unless of course, a PERSON catches us?

    [I started a rather long discussion of due process, but instead I think that those who bandy the term around should just learn what it really means on their own and how it is actually applied in legal situations. Exercise for student.]

    As for the “fairness” part, what is more fair than having technology determine such things as speeding with NO bias at all as opposed to having an officer with some possible biases deciding who he will pull over? So funny that it is mostly younger people who more value and believe in technology who are against speed cameras. I guess they only want camera technology used on important things, you know, like the World Cup. I think they just don’t like getting caught doing something they should not have been doing, as no one does. It’s just that some of us, when we get caught, admit that it was our own fault.

    I love the cameras; what better way to have the stupid people pay more taxes? If you can’t read a sign that says “PHOTO ENFORCEMENT AHEAD” and adjust your driving accordingly (which means slowing down to only ten miles an hour over the speed limit), then it really is your own fault, isn’t it?

  3. It certainly is a simple proposition, Wayne. Pay attention, see the signs, adjust speed accordingly. Unfortunately, a great many operators – I refuse to call them drivers – aren’t paying the slightest bit of attention behind the wheel.

    Text messages.
    Phone calls.

    These cameras set up in the name of safety resulted in the inattentive performing emergency braking manuevers in last second attempts to avoid citations. They resulted in flash bulbs fired into faces and rearview mirrors at night. They are source of distraction and anything which distracts a motorist from the task at hand – driving – is a danger.

    Inattention, aggression, and drunk driving were invisible to these single-minded sentries. A speeding vehicle is no more deadly than a handgun. In the hands of the inattentive or inept, the consequenses can be dire, but neither, alone, is not to blame. These cameras represented less of an interest in safety and more of an interest in easily generated revenue.

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