1/4/2007 4:00:00 AM Email this article • Print this article
Radar deters speeding, reduces accidents on Loop 101

The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT VALLEY ‚ Photo radar deters speeding and in turn reduces traffic accidents, according to the preliminary results of a study that a Scottsdale committee released Wednesday.

The first conclusion is it is an outstanding deterrent that changes people s driving behaviors,  said Prescott Valley Police Chief Dan Schatz, who served on Scottsdale s Photo Enforcement Technical Evaluation Committee. Prescott Valley launched photo radar in October and has issued about 2,000 tickets for speeding (more than 10 miles higher than the posted speed limit) since it began.

Schatz shared the preliminary results summary of the Speed Enforcement Demonstration Program with the Town Council and state lawmakers Wednesday evening. The committee released the two-page findings earlier on Wednesday during a meeting at Scottsdale City Hall that Schatz attended.

The Scottsdale project covered a 6.1-mile stretch of the Loop 101 freeway with six photo radar cameras that recorded speeds. The warning period lasted from Jan. 22 through Feb. 21, 2006, the program period ended Oct. 23 and the post-enforcement period

concluded Dec. 3.

The summary stated that an average of 162.2 vehicles per day exceeded 75 mph during the warning period. The speed limit on the freeway is 65 mph.

During the program period, when motorists faced tickets, an average of 129.7 motorists per day exceeded 75 mph.

Cameras continued to record the high speeds after the program period ended, and that number averaged 1,259.7 vehicles per day, the summary stated.

That jump after the program period amounted to an 850-percent increase, the summary reported.

The preliminary results also show that the mean traffic speeds dropped by 9.4 mph when motorists faced tickets.

The survey results also estimated that the number of single-vehicle accidents dropped from 22 percent involving injuries to 70 percent with merely property damage when compared to a similar stretch of freeway where photo radar did not operate.

The analysis estimated a total of $45.5 million in savings over a period of a year, including $25.7 million in fatal crash benefits.

Schatz said officials from the Arizona Department of Transportation will analyze the study results before deciding whether to allow local jurisdictions to install photo radar on highways 69 and 89.

This community has slowed down,  Councilman Bob Edwards said after Schatz made his presentation. I think (photo radar) is a great asset to have. 

Contact the reporter at khedler@prescottaz.com