Speed Cameras & AZ!

Today, we Arizonans have been released of the Speed Camera cops. The 2 year study is over today and will not continue as of right now. I’m, personally, not a fan of the cameras as it doesn’t have the ability to actually enforce the written law. This is what the ‘Basic Speed Rule’ in Arizona states:

Basic Speed Rule: A person shall not drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent speed under the conditions and actual and potential hazards then existing. §28-701(A) & (D)

My argument is that the last time I checked camera’s don’t have judgment on what is ‘reasonable and prudent’ speed for conditions. I’ve got some friends that disagree. I think it’s a brilliant little scheme to make up for an extreme financial deficit in the State, but, probably not the best way.

What do you think? Have you been caught by the camera’s here in AZ in the last couple years?

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13 responses to “Speed Cameras & AZ!

  1. Actually I will “mostly” miss them. I have to confess that about a year ago my husband and I really got convicted about our general habit of speeding (but staying just under 10 mph over the posted speed limit) as that is technically breaking the law and as Christians we should be following ALL the laws put over us by our government if they don’t go against Christ.

    Of course it helps that we have 4 back seat drivers constantly craning their necks to see what the speedometer says.

    That being said, your right on 2 counts.

    1) the cameras were put there to make money, not make the roads safer. Although I do think they have done the latter. For the most part the traffic on the 1-10 drives within 5 miles of the speed limit. So I don’t think the states motives were right.

    2) You also make a good point in that a camera cannot judge. There have been times when I’ve really wanted to pass or get around a driver that made me uncomfortable but doing so would mean I needed to speed up severely and I was always worried the cameras would catch me.

    But over the last couple of years it seems that the people that are the most vocal about being against the cameras are mad because they’re getting caught breaking the law and can’t speed through their daily commute. Frankly, I don’t feel bad for them.

    • well…you don’t need to feel bad about going over the speed limit or feel like you’re ‘sinning’ if the law really says what it says…which is that you are allowed to drive at a speed that is ‘REASONABLE & PRUDENT’ as conditions merit. If you need to pass someone who is going 65 MPH and the highway speed is moving at 70-75 MPH you should do that with the confidence that you’re under the basic speed rule and that would stand in court…as long as it’s true. :)

      I’ve never been hit by a ticket in the last 2 years and I’ve driven past those cameras a thousands times…I just don’t love the idea of why they exist. :)

      Great thoughts on your side! thanks for posting!

  2. Never been caught, but my dad was in June over on the 101 on the West Side.

    I see the legality of both sides. You have no chance to face your accuser (insert humorous courtroom scene with a speed camera in the prosecutor’s chair), but at the same time you were still breaking the law.

    No one has challenged the red light cameras, and those have been left on, and in my opinion rightly so.

    Yes, I believe our former governor lied to us about the real reasons for putting them up, and they obviously didn’t even pay out the way she wanted. Lots of tax dollars now stand on our freeways.

    We need to increase police on the streets and I realize that still comes down to having dollars in the bank that the state & cities just don’t have.

  3. Hey Prudence!!!

    Thanks for posting. Great thoughts.

    On the red light cameras…I would say that in comparison to speed it’s apples and oranges. Running a red light is never reasonable or prudent. Going 5-10 MPH over the speed limit could be though. That would be my only contention on that one.

    you rock!

  4. Amanda Chavez

    Okay so my 2 cents…. :) I am glad that they are gone too. I think they were totally put as a money maker. They are required to post signs on either side of the camera to notify you that one is near (I don’t remember how far) and almost more often than not the sign isn’t there or they set it way far back or hide it in a bush or something stupid like that.
    If that is what the law states then they definitely can’t determine what is ‘reasonable and prudent’. I have seen several police or HP that take it upon themselves to determine their own cruising speed. Certain parts of the 10 still are 55 posted which I think is ridiculous. 10 mph over is still a safe speed. And actually safer if everyone is doing 65-70. I haven’t gotten one ticket from them since they have been here but def glad their gone.
    The red light cams on the other hand, those I’m happy to have. :) Seen alot of dummies run red lights and they deserved to be caught.

  5. I encourage all to read this very informative article by AZDOT about how and why speed limits are set: http://www.azdot.gov/highways/traffic/Speed.asp You will see that the process is not as unfair as you may think.

    The reasonable and prudent rule does not allow a driver to exceed the speed limit set by the state. There is no “flow of traffic” defense either. The limit is in place for a multitude of reasons (see link above). It exists mainly to control for circumstances of nature and traffic flow in which driving at even the speed limit would prove a danger to the driver and those around them (ex. heavy rain conditions or stop and go traffic). While cameras do not control for this portion of the law, they do however help enforce the post speed limit under normal driving conditions.

    I am personally in favor of speed cameras. I was one of the first to be caught by one in Scottsdale, I have to admit. I was indeed speeding. Should I have gotten away with it simply because no law enforcement official saw me? I don’t think so. There exist cameras in stores to catch shoplifters, providing documentation of a theft violation. An officer did not see the offense at the store, nevertheless, the video evidence is available for an arrest. If a camera and properly calibrated speed equipment catch a violator on video, I believe it well within the right of the law to act.

    I find frequently that those that disagree with the cameras seem to feel that they should be an exception to the rule of law. They seem to feel that if they think they are a safe driver, they should be able to make their own speed limit with no outside arbiter of whether it adheres to a community standard, especially an automated enforcement mechanism. A note, the cameras and equipment are considered an enforcement mechanism because they contribute to the identification and punishment of the violator of a statute. Those with a libertarian bent in particular might say that government should stay out of the speed business on a roadway. What this concept does not control for are the unreasonable drivers who, in their speeding, cause danger through recklessness. Limits help provide community agreed upon boundaries of speeding behavior for the benefit of all.

    Another disagreement is that the cameras are government intrusion into private travel. The roads, sidewalks and freeways are considered public rights of way for both free speech purposes, travel, and privacy. If you choose to speed openly on a public thoroughfare controlled by local government for construction and safety purposes, you are subject to their watchful eyes. How can a community enforce its law without watching, and yes recording, the activities of a high speed roadway? They do call some violations “moving violations” for a reason. Now, as to storage and non-public safety analysis of said footage outside of traffic enforcement, that is another matter that needs to be discussed.

    A third disagreement I have heard is that the cameras and equipment are simply ways to unfairly tax citizens. The obvious problem with this argument is that if one does break the posted law, the citizen is not “unfairly taxed.” If they have broken a posted law, then they must pay for the consequences of their actions. If you read the AZDOTs position paper on speed limits above you will understand that traffic laws depend on community acceptance first and foremost. Permanent revenue speed traps have never been popularly supported nor would their continued use last for very long. Unreasonable speed zoning is frequently overturned. There have been misguided attempts to approach speed cameras from a revenue standpoint, however, these are at odds with the public safety officials who genuinely see them as a tool to promote safer speeds on roadways. I don’t disagree that politics has gotten in the way of effective use for law enforcement.

    As to the people who interpret the law to say that they do not have pay their tickets because they have not been served in person:

    According to AZCentral.com: The Department of Public Safety has 60 days from the original violation date to file a complaint in Justice Court. Once filed, the agency has 120 days to hand-deliver an Arizona traffic ticket and complaint to the driver. The complaint is dismissed if the DPS doesn’t meet the deadline.

    The arrogant ones out there who feel they are an exception to the law for whatever reason surmise, yes, you have not violated the letter of the law if your charge is dropped due to lack of service. However, for those that believe in being a Christ follower, Jesus was never about the letter, but the spirit of the law. God and you know that you violated a law of the land that the Bible upholds short of it contradicting God’s Word. What is to be your Biblical reaction to being caught? Wait out your punishment so that you can escape it or man up and take responsibility for your actions setting an example for those around you? That is what earthly and heavenly citizenship is all about. I don’t mean to bring down life-and-death theology on speed cameras, more so, expose a common exception to Biblical living that we frequently make in certain areas of our life.

    Speed cameras and equipment are not without their flaws or implementation problems. Every methodology of law enforcement has them. However, if speed cameras help make our roadways safer by simply reminding people to slow down, they’ve done something helpful. Remember, if you don’t break the law, you have NOTHING to fear from these little lenses attached to a recorder. For those that feel like lone rangers when they get behind the wheels of their cars, remember that there are millions on the road every day all around you and we are all in this together. We have to all do our parts to make the roadways safe, including following community established speed limits. Our government is here to serve our community and any disagreement with its governance should be taken to city hall and the ballot box, not out on the road.

    Drive safely, all!

  6. I think Seth Willey pretty much covered my view. I’ll add just a couple thoughts:

    It seems to me that salvation is a matter of the heart and in the NT we see the fullfilment of the promise given in Ezekiel 36:26. In I John 3:1-10, its clear that our practice is an indication of our heart condition. So, I’ve often been puzzled by those who name Christ but who act as the world acts (and I know that I fall into that camp far too often myself).

    Romans 6:15-18 encourages us to become slaves to Christ that we might become truly free.

    I doubt seriously that there are many instances where we “need” to speed. I think here, like in so many areas of life, we excuse ourselves, and we do it because it’s convenient and we don’t think we’ll be caught. But God knows our heart in the matter, and if we honesty examine ourselves, we know it also.

  7. I have to side with Brian on this one. The law does say “prudent” meaning we are held accountable for using logic when sitting behind the wheel. The rule begins to loose effect when we as motorists decide to throw sound judgment out the window for the sake of keeping the speed. Is it possible to drive foolishly while keeping within the posted speed limit? I believe so yet a camera wouldn’t know the difference.

    I was recently in Europe and appreciated the fact that speed limits are suggested in certain areas and un-posted in others. Why would the law enable someone to drive without a limit? You can probably imagine the thoughts that were racing through my head! Then I asked the question, would I drown any different in a pool that was marked 12 ft deep vs. an unmarked pool that was also 12 ft? Numbers by the poolside are irrelevant if I choose to hit the bottom and not swim. Following the limit does not mean I am a good driver if my safety and the safety of others is not my focus.
    (Linn W, you can thank me later for this illustration)

    People in Europe drove faster yet were focused and used judgment in their driving. You would be more likely to get pulled over for using your phone while driving vs. going 120 mph (or more) on the freeway. We saw fewer accidents and you could almost smell logic flowing through the exhaust pipe, I loved it!

    The concept is simple and can be very effective only when we as motorist embrace the responsibility of using judgment in our driving.

    So, I am very excited to know that cameras are gone! After today I think less people will randomly slam on their brakes. Just sayin

    Much Love,
    Andy

  8. Brian,

    Yes, you quoted sub-section A perfectly BUT sub-section B states: “Except as provided in subsections C and D of this section or except if a special hazard requires a lesser speed, any speed in excess of the following speeds is prima facie evidence that the speed is too great and therefore unreasonable:

    1. Fifteen miles per hour approaching a school crossing.

    2. Twenty-five miles per hour in a business or residential district.

    3. Sixty-five miles per hour in other locations.”

    I believe that means that you are not allowed to drive OVER the posted speed limit just because a bunch of other people are doing it. The “reasonable and prudent” stipulation is actually referring to changing driving conditions in which you should drive SLOWER than the posted speed limit such as in sub-section D:

    “The maximum speed provided in this section is reduced to the speed that is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and with regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing, including the following conditions:

    1. Approaching and crossing an intersection or railroad crossing.

    2. Approaching and going around a curve.

    3. Approaching a hillcrest.

    4. Traveling on a narrow or winding roadway.

    5. A special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.”

    For instance if a dust storm is blowing through it would not be reasonable and prudent to be driving 75 mph. Laws are laws and you are not allowed to break them just because “everybody else is doing it.” The cameras never bothered me because they never took my picture. If I HAD been speeding and got caught I would have taken the consequences of my actions. I actually found it very amusing and would laugh hysterically when I would see them flash at someone speeding down the highway. So rejoice & party if you wish but please, don’t speed on the highways where I will be driving, most likely with my 12 year old daughter in the car, trying to raise her to know right from wrong. Thank you.

  9. Dave Cheatham

    Brian, I am disappointed they are coming down. Really….because I commute to work. My wife has gotten one ticket and so have I when they first went up. I guess we weren’t reasonable or prudent. The main reason ….time. without everyone racing back and forth. The traffic flows better. It is that simple…my commute is much shorter. There is no reason to jump lane to lane for all the road ragers and aggressive drivers. If you pass …your mostly are going to get flashed. So I hope that it starts. I image that it saves lifes and accidents.

    just my two cents…

    Dave

  10. myheartresonateswithaglorioussound

    my husband just went on business travel out there a few weeks ago and got “caught” on one of the speed cameras….he was going to fight it but being that we live in the DC area we dont have much of a chance.

    Also FYI the prepaid envelope they give you to send in the check…go to the wrong address…

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