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Arizona Backs Off Its Speed Camera Program

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the not-so-fast dept.

Privacy 513

crimeandpunishment writes to inform us that Arizona is putting the brakes to a controversial and contentious speed camera program. The cameras have been used along highways in the Phoenix area and in vans throughout the state. While the cameras are used throughout the country, Arizona's program was the widest use of the technology, and the decision to drop it is a setback for those who argue that the cameras slow speeders, reduce accidents, and free up police for more serious matters. "The camera program was instituted by Brewer's predecessor, Janet Napolitano, now the Homeland Security secretary. Cameras were introduced in September 2008 and were added until all 76 were up and running by January 2009. Lawmakers considered repeal proposals within months, but set the issue aside and appealed for calmer debate when a passing motorist fatally shot a camera-van operator doing paperwork in his marked vehicle in April 2009."

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513 comments

Huh? (-1, Troll)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125084)

So they take them out because a unstable idiot that cant go the speed limit murders someone?

I personally think they are needed for specific places. Construction zones. Too many idiots go flying through construction zones putting construction works and other motorists in danger. maybe speed cameras all along the construction area will actually slow down those idiots.

Re:Huh? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32125132)

Stop being stupid.

The cameras weren't removed because someone shot one of the camera-van operators. The decision on whether or not to remove the cameras was postponed so that the murder wouldn't influence the decision, the *exact* *opposite* of what you suggest.

Can you read? Or do you just not care?

Re:Huh? (0, Troll)

bsane (148894) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125138)

Too many idiots go flying through construction zones putting construction works and other motorists in danger.

Cite?

Specifically that people speeding in construction zones is an actual problem in AZ that causes injuries/deaths.

Re:Huh? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32125242)

cite? I'll help, my commute every morning. Speed limit is 60mph in the zone. 45 when workers present.

I deal with a bulk of nuts doing 75+ weaving through traffic twice a day. They never slow to 45 for the workers, and get all road ragey on those that dare to do the posted limits.

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

bsane (148894) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125510)

Multiple anecdotes (let alone single ones) aren't data.

The question in your case would be: does lowering the speed limit to 45mph in the construction area actually make things safer? If it then causes a mix of 75 and 45 traffic, the answer is- probably not. The goal here is to make things safer, right? Not enforce arbitrary limits because it makes you feel better. Has the big push for low work zone speed limits mixed with 2-5x fines actually reduced fatalities and serious injuries? If so- thats the cite requested.

Re:Huh? (3, Informative)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125412)

Seriously? You can't do five minutes of your own research? I simply copied and pasted your above statement [google.com] into Google, and this link, http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/highwayworkzones/ [cdc.gov] , was fourth from the top. It includes a lot of documents that are relevant, including this useful summary:

During the 1995 to 2002 period, 844 workers were killed while working at a road construction site. During this same period there were 9325 deaths in the construction industry. The 844 worker deaths in road construction represent 9% of all deaths in construction. More than half of these fatalities were attributable to a worker being struck by a vehicle or mobile equipment. Workplace fatalities that occur at a road construction site typically account for 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent of all workplace fatalities annually.

of this document: Source: Fatal occupational injuries at road construction sites [bls.gov]

Road construction fatality rates are disproportionately higher than most other occupations. As to whether or not Arizona is more or less prone to road construction fatalities, the document only ranks the top and bottom five, and Arizona was in neither. But even if their work zones were among the safest in the nation, that's not saying much. It's still a very hazardous occupation.

Further summarizing the document's contents, of the 693 fatalities between 1995 and 2002, 509 were due to a worker being struck by a vehicle. The rest were "construction" types of accidents, including falls, struck by objects, contact with electricity, etc. Of the 509 deaths caused by vehicles, 363 occurred in the roadway, and 119 occurred off to the side of the road.

So don't delude yourself for a moment into thinking that work zones aren't dangerous places for workers, or that traffic isn't the primary cause of death for the workers. It is.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125568)

I used to think the 'council worker' type workpeople had it easy, leaning on their shovels all day etc. But they are out there in 40C degree heat, and 0C degree cold, working meters from cars that are supposed to be doing 40kph but aren't doing anything like it (i never realised how scary that was until I had to change a tyre on a busy road - i got as far off as I could but was nervous the whole time. I definitely have a whole lot more respect for the job than I used to.

As for the "citation needed" statement, if the OP had spent the 5 minutes providing some sort of citation it would save everyone else spending 5 minutes. Too many people post opinion and speculation as fact on the internet and they should be called on it, especially on a public forum where stuff gets re-quoted as fact (see here [slashdot.org] :)

Re:Huh? (2, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125680)

Yeah, we have a lot of Department of Transportation (DoT) jokes:

Q: What's orange and sleeps three?
A: A DoT truck.

Q: Why did the DoT worker boycott a Japanese company?
A: For inventing a shovel that leans by itself.

In Minnesota, we have two seasons: winter, and road construction.

I'm sure there are others. But yeah, I do take the work zones very seriously. I'm scared for those guys, and I'd hate myself if I hurt someone because I was speeding through their workplace.

Re:Huh? (2, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125572)

Oh, and the fifth link down from your query is this: Literture Review on Vehicle Travel Speeds and Pedestrian Injuries [nhtsa.gov]. I'll paste from the abstract of the first document cited:

16. Abstract

The relationship between vehicle travel speeds and resulting pedestrian injury was reviewed in the literature and in existing data sets. Results indicated that higher vehicle speeds are strongly associated with both a greater likelihood of pedestrian crash occurrence and more serious resulting pedestrian injury. It was estimated that only 5 percent of pedestrians would die when struck by a vehicle traveling at 20 miles per hour or less. This compares with fatality rates of 40, 80, and nearly 100 percent for striking speeds of 30, 40, and 50 miles per hour or more respectively.

There are other documents in the report that go on to discuss photo enforcement efforts in Arizona, but they're not quite as relevant.

Re:Huh? (4, Interesting)

bsane (148894) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125734)

So whats the relevant conclusion? That work zones should have a 20mph speed limit? Of course getting hit by a slower moving car is less likely to kill you. What is less clear is whether artificially low speed limits on freeways/hiways prevent accidents.

Your missing something (3, Insightful)

iceperson (582205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125684)

Where is the percentage of accidents that would have been avoided if the driver were traveling at the posted speed limit?

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

bsane (148894) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125696)

I wasn't arguing that the workers aren't in danger- they do a tough, dangerous job, and if they are killed doing it, its a footnote on the back page, not a full front page spread that cops get. I really appreciate the work they do.

Thats certainly a step in the right direction study-wise (a world better than the above AC's 'cite'), but I don't see anything in the study that says speeding vehicles and/or lower limits made things safer. In many semi-permanent construction sites things could be done to make things safer for all, and mixing 45mph traffic with 75mph traffic isn't the first one I'd try. Unless of course, someone has done that kind of study and found that regardless of the chaos it causes it is the best way to go.

The common knee-jerk reaction to problems on the road is- lower the limit 10, 20, 30 mph. Guess what? It rarely works, but it does create a nice revenue stream.

Umm, misinterpreted? (4, Informative)

autocracy (192714) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125764)

".. Worker being struck by a vehicle," does not always mean that they were hit by a passenger car. Sometimes it does, but I suspect that the majority of those incidents were along the line of, "run over by a (backhoe | forklift | dumptruck)."

In fact, "In 54 percent (274) of the cases, a truck struck the worker. Of these trucks, 36 percent were dump trucks, 21 percent were pickup trucks, and 19 percent were semitrailer, tractor trailer, or trailer trucks. Automobiles were the source in 28 percent (143) of all cases of struck by vehicle or mobile equipment at road construction sites. Finally, construction machinery, which includes backhoes, levelers, planers, scrapers, steamrollers, and road pavers, accounted for 11 percent (56) of the struck by vehicle or mobile equipment fatalities." In short, we tend to run over our own.

This data is also over a seven year period. Please read your own data, and note that it points to traffic not being the primary cause of of death for workers. Most of those trucks and some of those cars are probably workers. I pity the poor bastard that was taken out by a steamroller.

Re:Huh? (1, Troll)

bsane (148894) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125804)

Asking for cites is trolling now? No wonder there is so much bullshit here and so little truth.

no way back (4, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125140)

Speed cameras, like any other Big Brother tools, reproduce by binary fission. Usually, once you agree to one, suddenly you find yourself facing down the lens everywhere you go. Just look at the folks across the ocean. They used to be a proud empire, now even their most fervent US-mockers recognize the extent to which their freedom has been curtailed.

The fact that folks in Arizona managed to get rid of the cameras is a testament to the fact that at least some of the U.S. still values their freedom, and that the Big Brother is not yet fully in control.

Also, if you read the article it appears as if that one incident wasn't the chief reason the cameras were scrapped, but rather that it was a contentious issue for the November ballot that they didn't want to deal with.

Re:no way back (1, Flamebait)

boxwood (1742976) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125394)

Yay lets all slide down the Slippery Slope!

Maybe we should ban all cameras everywhere. Make it illegal to own a camera because it is possible that someone someday may use it to violate someone's privacy. I mean if we allow cameras to exist its only a matter of time before they are recording our moves everywhere!

Dude, slippery slope arguments are stupid. You like to be able to go over the speed limit, and speed cameras make it difficult to do so. Just be honest and say that, don't make some stupid slippery slope argument about privacy.

Re:no way back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32125562)

Actually if you go look through the past few years of slashdot stories you'll note that indeed they are already doing that for 'national and commercial' monuments, and that quite frankly in a choice between nobody getting to photograph, and everybody getting to, most would go with the former, unless the latter included the private lives of our elected officials :)

Re:no way back (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125592)

That's not "Insightful" in any way. It's a gross straw-man argument.

Dude, slippery slope arguments are stupid. You like to be able to go over the speed limit, and speed cameras make it difficult to do so. Just be honest and say that, don't make some stupid slippery slope argument about privacy.

That's another straw-man. I want to go faster I can now, given the limit, not because I am so eager to break the law, but because they are set too low, in order to generate more revenue for the state/city/municipality etc...

Re:no way back (1, Interesting)

drc003 (738548) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125686)

Once you have prove that this is what actually happens after you start allowing these types of monitoring is it actually a slippery slope argument? I think that Britain shows proof of exactly where this type of situation leads.

I'm thankful for Arizona citizens as a whole who obviously made their displeasure with this type of system clear and that it had an effect on the lawmakers.

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free"
-- Ronald Reagan

Re:no way back (2, Insightful)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125470)

Maybe I'm naive, but is it such a big deal to have lots of traffic cameras to enforce speed limits? It sounds a little ridiculous to say we can't have traffic cameras because there exists a possibility that they will be used to create "Big Brother." Shouldn't we be able to implement traffic cameras without using them for unrelated surveillance?

In Taiwan, there are cameras everywhere (not for traffic purposes), their crime rates are very low, and Big Brother is not a concern. It seems like they prefer having someone looking over them in case a crime is committed. I'm not doing anything wrong so Big Brother can look all he wants to.

Re:no way back (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125618)

What a load of horse manure! You've got more to fear about "big brother watching you" from Arizona's immigration laws than from their speeding cameras.

Here's the proof. I got a ticket from one of those speeding cameras in the mail. I looked at the ticked and saw that they only had a partial image of the license plate and the vehicle didn't match mine. So, I called them up and told them that and they said, "Okay we'll take it off" and that was the end of it. There was no "big brother" involved, no court date, nothing. In fact, it was probably easier to disprove the ticket from the camera than if I police officer had given it to me since I could point to the photographic proof that the vehicle that was speeding wasn't me. It is not certain I would have been able to do that with a police officer.

Here's some advice: take off the tinfoil hat and go out for a walk in a park somewhere on a nice day. Buy some ice cream. Stop being afraid of things that don't exist. (Unless of course you actually are a terrorist, in which case, I hope a camera catches you the same way the one in times square got caught.)

Re:no way back (4, Informative)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125682)

(Unless of course you actually are a terrorist, in which case, I hope a camera catches you the same way the one in times square got caught.)

Except of course the camera had nothing to do with his apprehension.

But don't let facts ruin your ridiculous ad-hominem tirade.

Re:no way back (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125854)

If your freedom relies on, perceived by you (and seemingly valued), small hardships in tracking you...then you don't have much freedom to speak of anyway.

Re:Huh? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125142)

Yes that seems insane to me. Will they repeal the law against theft because someone might get shot preventing a robbery?

Re:Huh? (5, Interesting)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125314)

Thing about speed cameras is that the focus rarely seems to be on actually getting traffic to flow at a safe speed.

I've seen some good systems which focus on indicating to drivers when they're going too fast.(rather than trying to keep them from realising they've slipped over the limit so you can fine them)
Traffic lights suspended over the road, if you're going above the speed limit it goes orange, then red.
As you drop bellow the speed limit it goes green again, you only get done for speeding if you fly through the red.
It sounds odd but since there are lots of them and people are used to them it's quite safe and it keeps traffic at a steady speed.

With the current system they seem only too happy to let you speed as long as they can get money out of you for it.

Imagine if you will a state where theft were punished only with a fine and then instead of trying to prevent thefts the police concentrated purely on issuing fines.

Re:Huh? (1)

Nichotin (794369) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125732)

With the current system they seem only too happy to let you speed as long as they can get money out of you for it.

Imagine if you will a state where theft were punished only with a fine and then instead of trying to prevent thefts the police concentrated purely on issuing fines.

You hit the nail on the head here, and speed cameras is a technical "solution" to a human problem. I live in Norway where speed cameras are common as well as other measures to try to prevent people from doing something not desirable. You can't purchase beer after 20:00 in weekdays and 18:00 on Saturdays in food stores for instance. The thing is, in the example with the beer, it reduces drinking because alcohol is less available. The problem as I see it though, is that you still have a rotten society full of heavy drinkers, it is just that they didn't make it to the store in time that particular day. The same goes for the speed cameras, if a electronic gadget is what keeping (some) people from speeding, what does it say about us as a society? What we need is driving education that actually teaches people a thing or two about the actual dangers of speeding, and do something about the roads that have an unproportionally high rate of accidents. Also, make sure the roads are safe enough for what most people consider a sensible speed limit for that road.

Re:Huh? (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125926)

I'd argue that technical solutions can solve human problems(not all but some).
In my example the system gives clear obvious feedback to drivers which I think is superior to a system which tries to avoid letting you know when you're going a little too fast.

Re:Huh? (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125774)

...and you're not obligated to return the stolen property, just pay the fine of 70% of black market value of stolen wares...

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32125808)

In the Maryland area, we have something vaguely similar; a speedometer that tells you your current speed as you're driving up the road. It flashes at 10 MPH over the limit to let you know you're going a bit too fast. One I know of is on a smaller, slower road with a nasty curve to it. Only issue is that, on a two-lane road, you're not sure if it's reporting on you or the next lane. Granted, if it's flashing, you may want to make sure you're going slower than the next lane over just to make sure.

I haven't gotten a speeding/red light ticket so far in my lifetime, but given the monetization that's been going on with the cameras in some locales, I don't trust those handling the cameras (both private AND public entities). Things like this (warnings, speedometer) that visually alert you are good, because it's something that actively raises the issue of safety in motorists. And helps to weed out those that actually don't give a damn.

Re:Huh? (4, Interesting)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125150)

And school zones. While I was going out to get some errands done I hit a school zone. Flashing yellow lights held up above the road with a bright "20" lit up. Obviously a warning that school is letting out and the zone is now 20MPH.

The road is a 4 lane (2 each way) and as you could guess where I'm going with this.. A SUV flies by me on the right and weaves through traffic doing at least 45. He/She also ran a yellow with a ton of kids waiting to cross.

Absolutely sickened me. A bad slip up, unexpected lane change of another vehicle, or a simple miscalculation on the light and it could have been on CNN.

I would happily support cameras on each end watching and timing plates. Ticketing anyone who speeds in a school zone during morning and afternoon student/bus/walker travel times.

Re:Huh? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32125240)

Won't SOMEONE think of the CHILDREN?

Re:Huh? (5, Insightful)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125322)

I agree it sounds that way, but in this case it's a real and present danger. We're not talking about some obscure law or politicians whim. Speeding through a school zone during school hours is just a _stupid_ thing to do.

Shit, I worry about driving on side roads for fear of a 5 year old chasing a ball at dusk. Obviously you can't stop driving in school zones or in residential areas, but you can _stop_ being a jackass and at least realize you're driving a 2 ton chunk of metal that will snap a kid in two in an instant.

That is why picture enforcement of school zone speed limits _is_ something I would support.

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125382)

legislating against jackassery is impossible.

Re:Huh? (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125420)

Good, seeing how that's not what I'm suggesting. All I said was that I support the use of cameras to enforce school zone speed limits. I'm sorry this is so hard to understand.

Re:Huh? (3, Informative)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125636)

The use of COPS doesn't seem people from speeding past the school near me. They _often_ have police officers idling around when students are coming or leaving. What makes you think cameras will be any better at stopping jackasses from speeding?

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32125614)

    Finally, someone is thinking of the children! ... rare thing on /.

Re:Huh? (1)

Afell001 (961697) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125634)

I've often thought a great PSA would be some soccer mom, waving a gun around in her hand while blabbing away on her cell phone with her kids all gathered around her, trying to take aim at a target. Then a narrator would say something like "You wouldn't do this with your kids around, would you?" then flash over to the same soccer mom, blabbing away on her cell phone while she is driving with all her kids in the back seat...

Cars have killed more people in this country than guns. And that's saying quite a bit, since guns were specifically designed to kill. Every time I get behind the wheel of my car, I remind myself of two things. One, I am operating a loaded weapon that has no safety other than my own diligence in recognizing dangers, both to myself and the other people around me. And two, no matter what, it is better to not have an accident at all. No matter what . This is personal experience, 5 weeks in the hospital (2 weeks in an induced coma), 3 surgeries, a lifetime with pain and over $300,000 in medical bills, a portion of which was covered by insurance. And I was the victim, not the perpetrator.

Anything we can do to slow down idiots and make them more cognizant of their responsibilities as vehicle operators, the better. If we have to continually zing repeat offenders in the wallet, then let's do it. If we end up going to a point system where your license to drive (which is a privilege, btw) is suspended after a specified number of violations, then let's do it. Right now, this all just seems more like a ploy to make some authority money rather than insure public safety, though.

Re:Huh? (0, Flamebait)

Arcady13 (656165) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125760)

I hate school zones. Are these kids too stupid to stay out of the road? Is this the only place where children ever cross the street? What about all the accidents from the dumbass that slams on his brakes from 45 to 20 when he notices the school zone at the last second? Why can't the same idiot go back to 45 when the zone ends? The only reason these stupid zones exist is so cops can make money writing tickets. If the kids are too dumb to stay out of the road, then let darwin do his job.

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125156)

speeding cameras are really about making money and do little to increase public safety. How many times do people have to catch the read light cameras being intentially set with short yellows to figure that out (the yellow is changed short as many cameras operate at a loss if they don't) If the companies that make and operate them were forced to be a non-profit with the highest paid employee no more than $85k in total compensation I wonder how many people would be pushing them?

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125222)

speeding cameras are really about making money and do little to increase public safety.

Surely that depends on how stupid your populace are? If you're dumb enough to repeatedly get caught speeding and not learn from it then yeah, they're not going to improve things. If, however, people go "there's a speed camera - what speed should I be doing? Better make sure I don't exceed the limit" then you're fine. They're only a money making scheme because people are too stupid and arrogant to keep to the speed limit.

Red light cameras are a bit different - they've got a variable you can tweak. Speed cameras allow a threshold (although they don't have to in the UK, by law) and can be tested and calibrated.

(Said as a former driver who now mainly cycles - but it applies to both parts of my commuting life)

Re:Huh? (0, Troll)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125282)

if you want to live in a big brother country I would suggest china. They even do the thinking for you. The US does not need this kind of crap, especially when speeding cameras are only about money and not about safety.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125362)

That's the typical short-sighted libertarian response: Rather than advocate fixing the timing on the yellow lights, which is the correct solution to the problem, you want to throw the baby out with the bath water and remove the lights entirely.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125286)

That depends entirely on if the speed limit is set with any regard to what a safe speed is for the area.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125300)

You can also hide the speed cameras, artificially lower the speed limit, make the camera on a hair trigger (or even trigger slightly below the speed limit and misreport.)

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125484)

> Surely that depends on how stupid your populace are? If you're dumb enough to repeatedly get caught speeding and not learn from it
> then yeah, they're not going to improve things.

I wouldn't say I have been repeatedly caught, I have gotten one speeding ticket and two that would have been but they did me a supposed "favor" and ticketed me for something else. Either way they get their hour and a half on their time sheet for a ticket (yes they do here in MA) and my insurance company still got to bilk me for supposedly being less safe.

What have I learned? Be more vigilant in looking for pigs on the road. I have learned that my government does the bidding of insurance companies. Thats about it. Overall, I try not to be intimidated by thugs and let them dictate my driving style since, I know I am safe. Just look at my record. Its mostly paperwork violations (because, as we all know, paying $50 to the RMV for a renewal is one of the most important habbits of a safe driver) and speeding stops... the one accident thats still even on my record was when some road raging moron slammed on his breaks in front of me while I was trying to change lanes in heavy traffic, called the police, and went about raving about how I was swerving in traffic because I made one lane change to avoid blocking an intersection at a red light. Seriously.

All they do is enforce laws, whether its absolutely retarded to do so or not.

-Steve

Re:Huh? (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125370)

speeding cameras are really about making money and do little to increase public safety. How many times do people have to catch the read light cameras being intentially set with short yellows to figure that out (the yellow is changed short as many cameras operate at a loss if they don't) If the companies that make and operate them were forced to be a non-profit with the highest paid employee no more than $85k in total compensation I wonder how many people would be pushing them?

Are we talking about speeding cameras or red light cameras?

Sure, at an intersection with a camera you can set the yellow short and catch people that really aren't doing anything wrong...

But a speed camera is set to tag people going over a certain speed. If you're doing the posted speed limit you shouldn't get in trouble.

Yeah, obviously, there's room to abuse pretty much anything on the planet... But I would think it somewhat harder to abuse a speed camera.

Re:Huh? (0, Flamebait)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125276)

Well this is the same state that passed the law that effectively makes people of latino descent (or anyone with something odd about them) need to carry their birth certificate or other ID on them at all times, regardless of their nationality. They also passed a law requiring that their presidential candidates need to prove they were born in the U.S. What did you expect from the state ranked 50th in education? [morganquitno.com] Somehow I don't expect enlightened thinking and rationality out of the bunch running AZ right now...

Re:Huh? (5, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125380)

I personally think they are needed for specific places. Construction zones. Too many idiots go flying through construction zones putting construction works and other motorists in danger. maybe speed cameras all along the construction area will actually slow down those idiots.

...by having chronic offenders see the "Photo enforcement zone" sign on the side of the road, lock up all four wheels to slow down in time for the van a quarter mile away, and then speed right back up again as soon as they're past the van, secure in the knowledge that there won't be another van for several miles.

...and by having tourists and inadvertent speeders drive blithely by the camera, wonder what the flash was, and keep going at whatever their original rate of speed was, blissfully unaware they were speeding until a ticket shows up in the mail.

Y'know what gets people to slow down? A real cop, lighting you up, pulling you over, and having to sit by the side of the road (as you watch every car that was doing the speed limit glide on by for 20 minutes :) as you await your fate.

I got my first ticket in 20 years of driving during a recent road trip. I knew I was speeding, he knew I was speeding, and after he wrote me up, I actually thanked him for the reality check. Had it been a camera, I'd have paid the fine and not changed my behavior for the rest of the trip, because I wouldn't have known about it until I got home. As it was, I kept it to within 5 of the limit for the rest of my trip, and to my surprise, even in the extremely remote areas of the state - we're talking the kind of places where you're the only car within miles miles - slowing it down wasn't as boring as I'd thought it would be.

Speed cameras don't deter speeders. Immediate negative feedback does.

Re:Huh? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125866)

This is the experience in the UK - Speed cameras at best get people to slow down at the Camera

They speed before it, they speed right up again after it .... so the traffic does not flow it goes at full speed except at the cameras ... ...and yes the only people who get caught are the tourists (to see the camera too late), and the stupid

It does nothing to prevent accidents except at the camera (and even that is just shifted 100yrds up the road)

Re:Huh? (3, Interesting)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125970)

Y'know what gets people to slow down? A real cop, lighting you up, pulling you over, and having to sit by the side of the road (as you watch every car that was doing the speed limit glide on by for 20 minutes :) as you await your fate.

Here's what I think would also slow people down in an educational way: A device reading the speed of vehicles (no camera needed), made very obvious, followed by a traffic light 50-80 meters further down the road which will turn red when someone passes the reading device at too high a speed. So that going at or below the speed limit is the fastest way to get through.

Alternatively, since license plate readers should be getting cheaper, a reading device plus a display a bit further which displays your license plate, name of the car's owner and speed when you go too fast. A flashing light "reduce speed" on its own helps a lot where these things are installed in England; with the additional information I think it would work very well indeed to reduce speed.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125386)

Follow the money not the murder. There taking them out because too many people ignore the mailed ticket at it's too expensive to hand server everyone. Remember the accused has legal rights to be properly server, you can't just charge, try and convict someone. It is a slippery slope we don't want to go down. Besides I have seen more accidents and near accidents from idiots looking up too late and slamming on their brakes to count.

Re:Huh? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125458)

Police enforcement will do. No need to infringe on our privacy for that. And if you say - you're in public, you don't need privacy - I say, wait until someone sends you a picture to your house of you going 1 mph over the speed limit while your mistress is in the car with you.

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125780)

I personally think they are needed for specific places. Construction zones. Too many idiots go flying through construction zones putting construction works and other motorists in danger. maybe speed cameras all along the construction area will actually slow down those idiots.

If it's a legitimate safety issue, then it's worth having an actual human police officer monitor or patrol the area. That's quite a bit different from the "administrative" issue of going a little faster than the speed limit on an open highway with no such hazards. The joke there is that speeding is not precisely illegal, it's just taxed. Which leads me to another point (from the summary)...

a setback for those who argue that the cameras slow speeders, reduce accidents, and free up police for more serious matters

If we really cared about freeing up police for more serious matters, we'd stop prosecuting nonviolent drug users. Do the research sometime and look at how many cops, courts, and much jail/prison space is currently devoted to these victimless crimes. Then imagine what that effort would accomplish if it were put towards violent criminals and scammers who directly harm other people with their crimes.

Re:Huh? (2, Interesting)

pantherace (165052) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125928)

Then there's the problem of things like 17 miles of 'construction with no work being done, unless the people in the cop cars were all the workers on break... (Nevada, in the that case, but Arizona, when traveling through it seemed fond of Construction zone ending, then ~200 foot ahead, another construction zone, and multiple times I saw a cop there.)

I agree in principle with the idea of being careful about construction zones, but I'm kind of cynical about how the laws are, and the increased fines are abused by certain states. (Mostly those in the center and southwest of the US, but I haven't traveled by car much to the east for a while.) If there was work actually being done, fine.

(Also, say what you will about California, in my experience, when CalTrans had a job, it got done in a short and reasonable amount of time.)

Good (3, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125092)

We're not the UK yet, we don't need this crap here.

Re:Good (0, Flamebait)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125174)

You do realise that a) we're talking about speed cameras here and not CCTV and b) it was CCTV that helped capture the man behind the recent bomb attempt in New York by catching pictures of him, don't you? Guns wouldn't have helped in either of those situations.

Re:Good (4, Informative)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125284)

b) it was CCTV that helped capture the man behind the recent bomb attempt in New York by catching pictures of him, don't you? Guns wouldn't have helped in either of those situations.

Ummm, no the VIN is what helped catch the guy in New York. And his own stupidity.

Re:Good (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125358)

b) it was CCTV that helped capture the man behind the recent bomb attempt in New York by catching pictures of him, don't you? Guns wouldn't have helped in either of those situations.

Ummm, no the VIN is what helped catch the guy in New York. And his own stupidity.

Nope. We still haven't found the guy they caught on camera, and the guy we caught was an Engineer with a graduate degree that had no idea of how to build a bomb or avoid detection at even the most basic level.

I'm no conspiracy theorist, but I find it incredibly hard to accept the "he's stupid" hypothesis.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32125966)

Haven't met many engineers have you? Book smart? Sure. Common sense? Nope.

Re:Good (2, Interesting)

Speare (84249) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125952)

I agree that the vehicle itself led them on a somewhat simple trail to find the guy.

However, what I found somewhat creepy was that they found CCTV of the same guy buying the fireworks in Pennsylvania, well over a month before the incident. Apparently, buying plain old 50mg firecrackers in PA requires a signature, an ID, and the video retention policy isn't just a week or less like most CCTV. Can they find video of your visit two months ago? Six months? How long before every Wal*Mart and ATM have a solid year of 30fps video for every camera?

Re:Good (3, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125456)

You do realise that a) we're talking about speed cameras here and not CCTV and b) it was CCTV that helped capture the man behind the recent bomb attempt in New York by catching pictures of him, don't you? Guns wouldn't have helped in either of those situations.

The UK has 6,000 speed cameras. From daily mail:

Drivers were clobbered with 1.23million tickets in 2008, of which 1.03million were issued by speed cameras, the Home Office report revealed. The tickets raised more than £73million for the Treasury that year, or £200,000 a day. In total, 16million tickets have been issued since 1997, raising £913million.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125176)

I actually prefer speed cameras to speed bumps, at least they don't damage the cars. In the UK they now have to be bright yellow and can't be hidden - this change has made me a lot happier about them.

Re:Good? (2)

cc1984_ (1096355) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125208)

I don't get it. You speed, you're break the law, plain and simple. This ain't a pretty please with sugar on top think of the children type thing. One thing I hear a lot from people being stopped is "don't you have better things to do than to stop me speeding?" With a camera in place, these police officers need not be keeping the roads safe when any normal person can regulate speed perfectly well themselves.

Gatsometers have limitations true, but an average speed camera check (pictures taken at say 1 mile intervals and working out the av. speed from that) is reliable and pretty solid.

Re:Good? (4, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125270)

There are many laws, and the fact that something is law, doesn't make it gospel. Just because it's on the books, doesn't mean it's right.

On the highways, away from residential areas, speeding laws are generally solely structured to bring in more income.

In NY, there are areas where highways have 50mph speed limits... or even 45mph... despite a wide, straight (or nearly so) well-paved road.

Ultimately, laws are meant to be the projection of the will of the people, moderated by the Constitutional interpretations of the Supreme Court... and we don't want the speed cameras.

Re:Good? (1)

jargon82 (996613) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125366)

Or maybe we do, in conjunction with raised speed limits on roads where such things are suitable. That would make me happy.

Re:Good? (1)

cc1984_ (1096355) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125500)

There are many laws, and the fact that something is law, doesn't make it gospel. Just because it's on the books, doesn't mean it's right.

That's pretty shaky ground. Laws are there for a reason. You can't just chop and choose what laws you want to follow. If it isn't gospel, then it shouldn't be a law in the first place.

I concede that you and I don't make the laws, we have to abide by them, but still it's not a defence to say "I don't agree this stupid law."

Actually, the defence of "I didn't agree with the guy who's trying to uphold the law, so I shot him" might be even more tenuous, but that's another kettle of fish :)

Re:Good? (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125540)

There are many laws, and the fact that something is law, doesn't make it gospel. Just because it's on the books, doesn't mean it's right.

That's pretty shaky ground. Laws are there for a reason. You can't just chop and choose what laws you want to follow. If it isn't gospel, then it shouldn't be a law in the first place.

I concede that you and I don't make the laws, we have to abide by them, but still it's not a defence to say "I don't agree this stupid law."

Actually, the defence of "I didn't agree with the guy who's trying to uphold the law, so I shot him" might be even more tenuous, but that's another kettle of fish :)

Laws are there for a reason. Doesn't mean it's a good reason, and doesn't mean that I can't oppose a law, and aim to have it repealed.

Re:Good? (1)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125922)

I concede that you and I don't make the laws, we have to abide by them, but still it's not a defence to say "I don't agree this stupid law."

Actually, it can be. There's a legal concept called "jury nullification," where if the jury thinks the law is bad they can refuse to convict someone of breaking it.

It doesn't get used much, and it pisses a lot of people off (you will likely make the judge very mad for suggesting it.) But if you can convince a jury to agree with you that the law is wrong, you can walk away.

Re:Good? (4, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125588)

You speed, you're break the law, plain and simple.

When you start following speed limits and making complete stops when you're on duty in a patrol car, I'll start to think that you really believe that law is important. Until then, you're just a meter maid in my book, and I'll treat you as such.

Why take them out? (0, Troll)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125102)

Why not repurpose them and put them on the border? You know, since Arizona is so into stopping illegals...

Re:Why take them out? (1)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125146)

So are you implying that they should not have a secure border or not? Hard to read your comment.

Re:Why take them out? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125186)

My point was that if they have no problem stopping people in the streets to demand they prove they are hear legally, why not repurpose cameras they have already paid for and put them on the border?

Re:Why take them out? (3, Informative)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125430)

So are you implying that they should not have a secure border or not? Hard to read your comment.

A secure border is one thing...

Stopping random people and asking to see their papers just because they look like they might be illegal is something else entirely.

Re:Why take them out? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125704)

While I'm sympathetic to this critique of the Arizona law, what exactly would you have them do? Since the vast majority of the people doing the illegal immigration into Arizona are Hispanic, any method of reducing illegal immigration in Arizona will disproportionately fall on Hispanics. And legal Hispanic immigrants will be the vast majority of the false positives. If you want that not to be the case, your only option is not to enforce the law at all.

Re:Why take them out? (2, Insightful)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125492)

Come live here for a while, have your property stolen your wife assaulted in SCOTTSDALE of all places. They get a bus ride home I get a bill for $2500. Ya we need to stop all illegal activity at our boards, our highways our cities and suburbs. Its just to bad for the hard working law abiding workers that the majority of crime is associated with illegal aliens. Bring back the Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers Program and modify it to allow for other forms of work. They should have to follow the same rules and be monitored in the same way by US Immigration as I am!!

Re:Why take them out? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125776)

Hey, don't get me wrong...I feel that Arizona as a State has a right to make any kind of law regarding immigration it wants. It's not my place nor anyone else who doesn't live there to tell you folks how to handle your problems.

It just means Arizona won't be getting any of tourist dollars, that's all.

Hypocritical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32125226)

Gee, if you follow the logic for the immigration law passed in Arizona, speeders are doing something ILLEGAL so why shouldn't ANY Means to stop the illegal behaivor be used. Speeders probably kill as many if not more people then the supposed criminal element crossing the border. In fact the cameras free up the police who won't have to run speed traps to search and arrest illegal Aliens. But I guess this particular enforcement is unpopular with the voters so all that high minded "were just doing what's right" logic goes to the wayside.

Re:Hypocritical? (1)

ProdigyPuNk (614140) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125338)

Almost everyone can admit to speeding at times. Not many can say the same thing about being in the country illegally.

Re:Hypocritical? (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125490)

Almost everyone can admit to speeding at times. Not many can say the same thing about being in the country illegally.

If they'd learn English they could. ;-)

Too Bad (2, Insightful)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125272)

I like the idea of strict enforcement, I hate the currently implemented use of selective enforcement which has lead state and local governments to utilize "speed enforcement" as a revenue generation racket. This was made very clear and apparent in the state of Virginia which, in 2006 implemented "Civil Remedial" fees in order to help fill short gaps in the state budget. This is a very nasty habit state governments have gotten into in order to avoid increasing taxes.

Strict enforcement will cause a public backlash against the laws. The right choice would be to reassess most posted speed limits, and make the appropriate fixes to traffic areas that have used the invisible barrier of "low speeds" to protect the public.

Re:Too Bad (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32125444)

Public backlash against onerous revenue-generating speed limits will never happen, because the targeted revenue stream typically aren't represented by the jurisdictions which set artificially-low speed limits. The majority of speeding tickets are exacted by small burgs as a measure to extract toll from outsiders passing through.

Re:Too Bad (1)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125828)

While the small burgs may enforce the speed limits, it is generally the state DMV that assigns a road its speed limit. Local jurisdictions take advantage of poorly assigned speed limits to raise funds for the local coffers. If these speed limits were raised to reasonable limits, then strict enforcement would be justified for public safety as opposed to public revenue.

(pluOs o8e Informative) (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32125324)

and that the fllor antibacterial soap.

Speeding camera's are all about revenue (2, Informative)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125342)

They don't do anything to slow down speeders. If anything they contribute to accidents and traffic problems since speeders will slam on their brakes when they see one.

In Europe, speeding camera's are common and it's also common to shoot them, burn them or otherwise vandalize them: http://www.speedcam.co.uk/gatso2.htm [speedcam.co.uk]

Reconfigure them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32125364)

Maybe they can reconfigure them to look for brown people... That seems to be in vogue there, lately.

If they really want to improve public safety... (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125390)

How about going after tail gators and other aggressive driving habits?

And also go after the left lane hogs? Here in GA (I-75N) we get a lot of the *snow birds who insist on staying in the left lane as they go through GA and folks who want to speed are dashing around them. The old people in the land yachts are usually pretty courteous and stay to the right with their other car in tow. And then you get the idiots who are on their cell phone who are traveling at 50, then 75, then 60, then 70 - and it's worse when their in the left hand lane.

* Snow birds: retired people (mostly old) who travel to Florida during the Winter and then move back to their homes in the North during the Summer.

Cameras make sense if you lower the fine (1)

Freedom Bug (86180) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125428)

Speeding tickets are expensive because not all speeders get caught. So if you have a system that catches everybody, the ticket rate should be substantially reduced. A small chance of a large ticket and a guaranteed chance of a small ticket should have similar deterrence rates. Anything more is a money grab.

Re:Cameras make sense if you lower the fine (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125910)

A small chance of a large ticket and a guaranteed chance of a small ticket should have similar deterrence rates.

Actually, the latter should have a better deterrence rate.

Cameras + Racial profiling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32125432)

I'd like to take this moment to remember the common argument, 'Why do you need to worry about privacy if you have nothing to hide?'.

What happens with the government of Arizona uses security (or speeding) cameras to find Latinos? If your skin looks a little brown, you'd be taking a risk even stepping out onto a city street. And Latinos are the only group to face discrimination. What happens when the government passes laws (or the executive branch decides) to discriminate against Islam -- some European governments already have such laws. What happens when they use Facebook to find Muslims? During the Red Scare in the 1950s, many people lost their careers and reputations simply because they associated with alleged communists 10-20 years before. Have you friended anyone who might be considered objectionable in 2020 or 2030?

The public tends to be reactive about problems. From the Great Depression and WWII, to the Red Scare and Vietnam, to today's Iraq War and Great Recession, we watch obvious problems build before our eyes, but we seem unable to exercise the foresight to imagine their consequences and prevent them. All of those disasters were preventable, with obvious solutions and causing a fraction of the suffering. But we don't act until people suffer, and often die, on a large scale. Unfortunately, I think the same will be true of modern information technology and privacy.

Don't worry, guys! (1)

Bluemumba (1320257) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125474)

These are traffic cameras... they're not going to take pictures of your bizarre porn or illegal music collection. They won't divulge embarressing information about you at your next dinner party, nor will they be used to frame you by a shadow government!

Re:Don't worry, guys! (1)

RandomFactor (22447) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125920)

Lord no, why spend money on expensive cameras when photoshop handles that just fine? That's just being fiscally responsible.

The real reason AZ dropped this: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32125504)

The real reason AZ dropped this: they couldn't get the "stars n bars" detector working, so *white* people might actually be affected by it.

Doesn't matter (1, Troll)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#32125756)

the cities and counties are still free to spam the roads with red-light and speeding cameras. You can't win against these things because there's too much money involved and it's going to private companies who then give half of it to the reelection campaigns of corrupt local officials. Once again, capitalism at it's finest.
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