Tucson Could Soon See Cameras On Roads

Jan 8, 2007 09:41 PM

Suleika Acosta KOLD News 13 Reporter

Speeding plus a snapshot equals a stiff fine from the city of Tucson. Now, the police want the city to purchase a photo radar system for Tucson streets just like the ones in Phoenix.

Did you know that by driving just 10 miles over the speed limit, you're doubling the risk of being in a car accident? That's according to the Highway Safety Administration. That's why the city is working to make drivers more aware of how fast their going.

Sixteen thousand crashes, 57 deaths...that's just last year on Tucson streets.

"Nineteen percent of those collisions were a direct cause of someone going way too fast," explains Lieutenant Mike Pryor,with Tucson Police Department.

He says those deaths were preventable. Because of that, police are pushing to bring photo radars to make roads safer.

"We can move it to different traffic problems whether it's construction zones or school zones which can be very important or other areas where we have a lot of traffic crashes," says Pryor.

Here's how it works: If the van's radar catches a vehicle speeding or running a red light, cameras snap a picture of the driver and license plate. That's sent to the police department and authorities mail a ticket to the speeder. Nearly 100 U.S. cities are already using this technology including Scottsdale.

"Every city in the Phoenix valley that's used this has seen a reduction in crashes, in injuries and a reduction in speeding," says Pryor.

Tucson City Councilman Steve Leal says drivers supports the cameras. He says drivers should not be concerned about the violation of their privacy.

"This only takes a picture of people who have actually done something not pictures of everybody, waiting to see if someone does something," explains Leal.

Leasing the van, equipment, and staffing it will cost the city about $10,000 a month. And they don't plan on making money off this technology. Authorities say most of the money that comes from your tickets goes to the state.

Later this month the TPD will seek approval from city council. We could see the photo van this spring.

By the way, a ticket can start at $115 but if driving more than 21 miles over the speed limit, you can receive a criminal citation which could mean jail time.