Published: Apr 25, 2006 - 08:11:49 am EDT

Radar ban bills dwindle; Last bill would eliminate Loop 101 cameras
By Rusty Bradshaw and Jennifer Amsler; Independent Newspapers

All anti-photo enforcement bills in the Arizona Legislature have died and the last remaining bill would not have an immediate affect on the town.

If passed into law, Senate Bill 1146 would prohibit the use of cameras on state freeways as traffic enforcement tools after December 2006. But the bill may not make it to the House floor.

“I don’t expect it to pass,” said District 8 Rep. Michele Reagan (R-Scottsdale).

“If it doesn’t surface this week (April 18), I would think it is dead.”

The bill was withdrawn from the House Transportation Committee March 16 and by a 7-2 vote March 30 passed out of the Judiciary Committee. To reach the floor it must pass the Rules Committee.

SB 1146 was not on the preliminary draft agenda April 19 for the Rules Committee, according to officials in District 20 Rep. Bob Robson’s office (R-Chandler), who chairs the Rules Committee.

Since the bill deals with cameras on freeways, Paradise Valley photo enforcement will remain prominent as it did when implemented in 1987.

Paradise Valley photo enforcement is the longest continual running program in the country and as a result, it has decreased deaths, injuries and property damage across the board. Chief John Wintersteen said

Chief Wintersteen, along with several other Valley town and city officials, fought 13 bills that popped up in this legislation session that would ban or prohibit the way photo enforcement is done today.

Other bills, all of which are dead, would have made photo enforcement a financial burden on towns and cities but if enforced, the town would take every initiative to keep it running, Chief Wintersteen said.

“I believe the town would find the money and we would need to continue with photo enforcement because of the way it has benefited the town,” he said.

But despite efforts from Arizona lawmakers, the town stands behind photo radar as a way to keep crime down and drivers safe.

Jay Heiler, who represents Redflex Traffic Systems and the Town of Paradise Valley, said he is one of many members of the group that help debunk misconceptions about photo radar.

“Each year, the town gets involved,” Mr. Heiler said.

Chief Wintersteen said in his 11th session of fighting anti-photo-enforcement bills, residents are supportive of what he and others are doing.

According to the town’s preliminary budget for next year, the police department seeks $42,800 to install a red-light camera at the intersection of Lincoln Drive and Mockingbird Lane.

Without cameras monitoring speeders and red light runners, accidents would likely increase and police would spend countless time in court and filling out paperwork, instead of monitoring town streets.

“Photo enforcement is the single thing that government can do to protect its citizens from death, injury and property damage,” Chief Wintersteen said.

Paradise Valley and Scottsdale will continue to ticket speeders on the streets and highways.

“I ride the 101 a fair amount of time and I have noticed a marked slow down in the speed of traffic,” Scottsdale resident Jan Haase said. “I tend to be a speeder and I know it keeps me in check.”

Post comments at Paradise Valley News Editor Jennifer Amsler can be reached at (480) 483-0977 or