589 speeding tickets dismissed over faulty equipment

Jane Larson
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 29, 2008 04:23 PM
Scottsdale is dismissing nearly 600 speeding citations issued in December and early January after finding photo-enforcement equipment on Shea Boulevard was flashing too eagerly.

Some 589 motorists who received citations will have those citations dismissed and their driving records corrected, city spokesman Pat Dodds said Tuesday. Of that group, 35 had paid fines or fees to attend traffic school. They will receive refunds.

Flubs in the program are uncommon but do happen, Dodds said. "We've had glitches before, and when we do, we correct them," he said.

The dismissed citations were for drivers clocked at more than 11 mph over the speed limit between Dec.7, a few days before the equipment apparently began malfunctioning, and Jan. 4, when the cameras at Shea and 120th Street in Scottsdale were shut down.

Scottsdale police had received complaints from motorists that they were cited even though they had not been speeding on Shea, Dodds said.

The problem was traced to a bad sensor embedded in one of the three eastbound lanes, said Josh Weiss, spokesman for photo-enforcement vendor American Traffic Solutions Inc.

The sensor was replaced and the cameras reactivated Jan. 16, he said.

"It's extremely rare for one to go bad," Weiss said. "As a result, it didn't allow us to verify the exact speed a driver was going."

The Shea location was one of three sites added when ATS took over the city's photo-enforcement contract in July. ATS has checked its equipment at other Scottsdale locations and on the Loop 101 and found it is working correctly, Weiss said.

The impact of the dismissals on city and ATS revenues was not immediately available. Scottsdale City Court fines for going more than 9 mph over the speed limit range from $165 to $210 per citation. ATS receives $22.50 for every speeding citation that results in a violator pleading or being found responsible or attending defensive-driving school.