Friday, February 27, 2009

Tooch tussles with the cops over speed cameras

As promised, I'm going head-to-head in the pages of the Arizona Republic with the Arizona Department of Public Safety (which includes the highway patrol) over the desirability of using photo-radar enforcement cameras to ticket speeders on the roads. The columns will provide a point/counterpoint in this Sunday's Viewpoints section of the Republic, but they're available online now.

Taking the "pro" speed camera position is Thomas Woodward, commander of the Arizona Department of Public Safety's photo-enforcement program. An excerpt:

The Arizona Department of Public Safety began its photo- enforcement program in November 2007, prior to the Legislature and governor enacting legislation calling for the current expanded program.

At the time, DPS supported the program using alternate funding because of its potential to save lives on Arizona highways. ...

The mobile systems being used on the Phoenix freeway system will increasingly be moved to outlying areas around the state to address serious injury and fatal collisions statewide. Mobile systems typically produce fewer citations than stationary systems. There are currently 42 mobile systems in operation.

Signaled intersections on state highways are being considered for photo enforcement because of the potential to reduce serious injury and fatal collisions. Like mobile systems, red light photo-enforcement systems also produce lower numbers of citations when compared to stationary speed systems.

While there continues to be a large amount of discussion about photo enforcement and the motives for its implementation, the Department of Public Safety remains committed to the statewide program for one simple reason: We believe it saves lives.

Full pro column is here.

Battling for the forces of all that is good and right, which is to say, taking the "anti" speed camera position, is yours truly.

Speed cameras can't be trusted, and neither can the people who operate them

With the move to ban speed cameras across Arizona gathering steam, opponents of automated speed traps should take a moment to nurse a few regrets. No, it's not because of second thoughts about the merits of camera-issued tickets.

Instead, we should mourn the receding opportunity to tape a copy of former Gov. Janet Napolitano's license plate over our own and whizz on down the highway for the benefit of the robotic revenue generators. ...

[N]ow we know that state officials and DPS have been using Arizona's speed cameras to produce continuous video records of cars passing by.

The records are supposedly destroyed after 90 days, but can we really trust officials who didn't bother telling us about the video to begin with to destroy data about our movements on the highways?

Dumb revenue machines that are easily fooled, often inaccurate, actually increase the frequency of some accidents, and that have been used to spy on us.

Why aren't all of us driving around with copies of Janet Napolitano's license plates?

Full anti column here.

Before you ask, I assume that the "good" before the headline of the DPS piece and the "evil" before the headline of my own will be prefaced by "Photo-radar speed cameras are ..." in the print edition.

That's both sides for you. Now share your opinion!


Blogger Kent McManigal said...

Although I don't buy it, the claim that speed cameras save lives isn't a good enough reason for the intrusive destruction of liberty they represent. After all, it might cut crime to nuke inner city neighborhoods, but it would still be wrong.

People make a choice about how they drive, and until their actions harm another person, no government has the legitimate authority to do anything about it.

February 27, 2009 8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you should call them what they are: "Photo Entrapment Cameras."

March 2, 2009 12:32 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

For me the biggest thing about all of this is the perverse incentives that lead to such machines. I live in Florida, and like Arizona were hurt by the real estate bubble bursting. With the state government running a large deficit, Tallahassee is getting ready to drive up speeding ticket prices to drum up revenue. The state basically becomes dependent on people breaking the law and engaging in unsafe behavior, and when good times stop, they branch out to get everyone else. The same could be said for all of these idiotic cigarette taxes. The state is dependent on smokers for revenue to afford health care programs.

March 3, 2009 6:00 AM  
Blogger STEVEBONZAI said...

GO TO I took a selection of these to the hearing. I said the same computer that took both pictures, prove that it didnt. NOBODY SAW YOU SPEED. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO FACE YOUR ACUSER. [that is why when the cop doesnt show, it is thrown out.]THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A REAL PICTURE. THEY HAVE A VESTED INTEREST IN CHEATING. GOOD LUCK

March 3, 2009 5:05 PM  
Blogger A Voice of Sanity said...

In Australia, some wags stole the license plate off a radar camera car, attached it to their vehicle, and drove it at speed through the trap 13 times. The locals were much amused.

March 11, 2009 1:29 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home