August 29, 2006
Too many leadfoots just donít get it. Some motorists caught speeding by Scottsdale cameras on the Loop 101 are complaining that tickets they have received are somehow unfair, the Tribuneís Mike Sakal reported Sunday.

The truth is these drivers donít like the fact that they have been caught in their bad habits, in some cases several times on the same trip, and now they face one or more expensive tickets for breaking the law.

These motorists simply have no excuse for making the cameras flash. So we have little sympathy for those who want us to turn a blind eye when they put the lives of other drivers at risk.

Scottsdaleís test of six speed cameras between Shea Boulevard and Scottsdale Road has to be one of the most heavily promoted law enforcement activities in recent memory. The program was debated for months from City Hall to the state Capitol, in this newspaper and on the Internet, before the pilot program began in February.

Signs are posted before each camera, pinpointing their exact locations. The public has been repeatedly informed the cameras only click for autos traveling at least 76 mph when the speed limit is 65 mph, granting the freedom to exceed the law by up to 11 mph.

Yet, violations continue to pile up. Motorist Elizabeth Hobbs complained to Sakal about receiving tickets in May and June.

ďThe system makes it where you can get five tickets in one day even minutes apart. Iím a law-abiding citizen, but when it comes to things like this, Iím not,Ē Hobbs said.

By Hobbsí logic, a police officer can pull someone over for speeding once, but should be prevented from stopping the motorist for a second ticket if she tears away and surges past the speed limit again.

Other people have suggested we can drive safely at speeds higher than 76 mph on the 101, despite a series of fatal collisions that prompted Scottsdale to install the cameras in the first place. Those folks should gather up their accident statistics and traffic data and make a case to the state Department of
Transportation to raise the speed limit.

Until that happens, we will continue to encourage state and local officials to pursue a comprehensive strategy to enforce the law, which includes more troopers on patrol and innovative techniques such as speed cameras to fill the gaps when actual police officers arenít available.