Photo radar on the 101 - results of ASU study were poor and the state should not be assuming this loss
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This entry was posted on 1/23/2007 and is filed under uncategorized.

Sen. Thayer Verschoor and former Scottsdale mayor Mary Manross were on Horizon last night discussing 1) the City of Scottsdale's request to Governor Napolitano to take over their 101 photo radar program and 2) the results of an ASU study on how well photo radar has worked. First of all, a few Scottsdale City Council members voted for the photo radar. So how can they get around the legislature and state voters through a backdoor by asking the governor to take over the program? (which will result in state taxpayers paying for it).

A researcher from ASU was interviewed who actually admitted the study produced negative results. There is a bias built into the report, since ASU professors are much more likely to drive hybrid electric or natural gas cars, which have less horsepower than your average car; some of them have a difficult time going above 55 mph. So they would prefer to have everyone else slow down to their speed. There are gray areas open to interpretation in most studies. The Goldwater Institute should file a public records request for the raw data and provide their own independent analysis of the results.

The researcher acknowledged that rear-end crashes have increased. That means more innocent people are being injured and ending up with back and neck pain due to the photo radar cameras. At the same time, the researcher said that accidents have decreased 2% (gee - wow), although there is room for large error, since there is a possibility that not all accidents have been reported to ADOT yet - some may take as long as 36 months to be reported. He also admitted that if they'd missed reporting just one serious accident (since this corridor of the 101 is the safest portion of the freeway - gee - another great reason why photo radar is necessary here) it would skew their results. As someone who suffers from chronic neck and back pain, I can assure you that more rear-end injuries are resulting in more injuries, they're probably just not being reported to ADOT. After some moron ploughed into my car when I was on my way to the gym, shooting me across the intersection where I was stopped at a red light, I was stunned, and the officer who showed up on the scene told me I'd be fine and to continue and go to the gym. Bet the years of pain I've had since then didn't get counted by ADOT as an "injury." I've been told that unless there's a visible injury, law enforcement does not record it.

Verschoor pointed out there are several constitutional problems with the photo radar cameras, including privacy issues and equality. People driving non-registered vehicles are not ticketed, nor are cars driven by spouses, or illegal aliens. So basically law-abiding people are more likely to be targeted. There is no right to confront your accuser; someone can be issued a ticket and not receive it, then have an officer show up and testify against them in court - with no notice to the driver or opportunity to cross-examine the officer.

Manross said that the photo radar supplements the police, but Verschoor responded that it's resulted in less officers patrolling since they've started avoiding that area in order to avoid getting speeding tickets themselves.

Manross said the bottom line was "changing driving habits." Huh? More innocent people are receiving back injuries, but the bottom line is slowing people down a few miles with dubious results? Goes to show it's all about revenue generation.

Verschoor noted that Arizona law states that driving speeds must be "reasonable and prudent" in Arizona, which doesn't always mean 65, it could be more or less in an area depending on multiple factors such whether it's raining, night, heavy with traffic, construction, etc.

Verschoor said the study didn't bother to analyze accidents during peak traffic hours, and had no fatality information.

What a reputable study.

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