Arizona adopts mobile cameras to catch speeders

The Arizona Department of Public Safety yesterday began using mobile photo radar cameras mounted in sport utility vehicles to detect speeders.

Arizona is the first state to have a photo enforcement program administered by a state-level law enforcement agency.

'The main focus will be to cite speeders,' said Bart Graves, a spokesman for the department. 'The technology hopefully will help slow people down so there would be fewer collisions caused by speed. It also frees up more officers to pursue and arrest aggressive drivers.'

Redflex Traffic Systems will operate the units, which can take photos of drivers' faces and license plates. Anyone driving faster than 11 miles per hour above the speed limit will receive a ticket. The units combine high-resolution digital stills with full-motion video.

They can monitor up to four lanes of traffic simultaneously and detect speeds at a level of accuracy of plus or minus 1 mph.

Two SUVs will be deployed at a cost of $4,000 per unit per month.

The units are not a replacement for law enforcement officers, said Roger Vanderpool, director of the Arizona DPS. 'This is simply a tool DPS will use to provide the public with additional safety while driving. In many cases, highway collisions are caused by speed and the failure of drivers to control their vehicle.'

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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