Lights out? Pima County may pull the plug on speed cameras
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - They're always there. Speed cameras. And they're always watching, ready to snap anytime you mess up.
"I'm annoyed by them," said one driver.
"They're kind of a nuisance," said another.
But that nuisance, come December, may be a thing of the past.
"The whole logic was to improve traffic safety," said Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. "It's accomplished its goal. Now it's time to move on."
The number of citations dropped by 38 percent between 2009 and 2011. In 2010, the cameras snapped nearly 49,000 of you. Last year, that number fell to less than 34,000.
For four years people have learned where these cameras are located. It's forced them to slow down. The question now becomes, with these cameras gone, will people speed back up?"
"We've measured speed as far away as 2 miles from camera," said Huckelberry. "We still see a suppression of speed."
But we wanted to test that for ourselves. What we found, might surprise you. Hidden behind a wall, we zeroed in on drivers 75 yards past the cameras. Once they were clear of the camera, they sped up. We clocked a couple 50s, even a 60. The speed limit on Alvernon and Ajo is supposed to be 45 miles per hour.
"Oh yeah, I do it all the time," said one driver.
"People know they're there, so they are going to slow down," said another.
"Then right after they're back up 8 or 9 miles over the speed limit," said another driver.
In other words, drivers say the speed cams haven't really made driving safer. Still, most people we talked to say it's time for them to go.
The county's contract with Tempe-based American Traffic Solutions expires in December 2013. It will be up to the supervisors to make the final decision on whether they stay or go. Huckelberry says there will be plenty of time for you to share your opinion before a final decision is made.
Stay with 9OYS as this story progresses.