Speed cameras tell tale of motorist mockery
By Mike Sakal, Tribune
March 4, 2006
Newly released images from photo enforcement cameras along Loop 101 in Scottsdale show speeding motorists responded to the cameras in unusual ways, sometimes with obscene gestures or reckless abandon.
Today's Top Stories
Motorists photographed traveling 100 mph or more are seen flashing their middle fingers at cameras, and on two occasions drivers had both hands off the wheel. One motorist had a passenger in his lap while he “flipped the bird,” and another passenger is giving a thumbs-up sign as the driver laughs.
Two motorcyclists, their faces concealed by helmets, are seen side-byside in the same lane. One of the drivers appears to be looking directly at the camera.
“It’s obvious through the photographs that people don’t have complete control of their vehicle,” said Pat Dodds, a Scottsdale spokesman. “They’re a danger to other people on the road, and to themselves.”
Scottsdale’s speed camera program has garnered attention across the state and nation because it is the first speed surveillance program of its kind in the United States being conducted on a state highway.
The city provided to the Tribune this week 84 images of about 40 different motorists clocked at speeds in excess of 100 mph. A total of about 60 motorists, including law enforcement vehicles, hit the century mark or more during a warning phase of the program that was in effect from Jan. 22 through Feb. 21, Dodds said.
The city began issuing citations on Feb. 22 for motorists traveling 76 mph or more. Tickets start at $157. A motorcyclist traveling 131 mph on Feb. 14 remains the top speed.
“This is a program that is new to us,” Dodds said. “At first, we were unsure of what kind of statistics we were going to get. We’re learning as we go.”
As for images released this week, four motorcyclists were unidentifiable because they were wearing helmets and the license plates were blurry. Nearly half of the motorists caught speeding can’t be identified because of sun glare, obstructed views of drivers, missing license plates and other factors, said Jay Heiler, a spokesman for Redflex, the private vendor running the program.
“The problems we’ve run into is either people have temporary plates, the number on the plate doesn’t match the car, or the information is nonexistent with the Department of Motor Vehicles,” Heiler said.
Contact Mike Sakal by telephone at (480) 970-2324.