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Arizona DPS rejects 65% of speed camera photos

More than 471,000 photos were taken by enforcement cameras in Arizona between December 2008 and February 2009, but only 35% of those drivers received tickets from the state Department of Public Safety. Redflex Traffic Systems (which operates the cameras) and the DPS rejected 65% of the photos captured. The reasons for rejecting the tickets varied, but most are relatively uncomplicated, with sun glare, dirty windshields and other traffic being the top causes.

DPS Lt Jeff King says that the agency is pleased with photo enforcement's impact on public safety. “I think there's always room for improvement, but we also recognize that there are some things outside of everybody's control. It's nature. You cannot fix the sun,” King says. “Between sun glare, dirty windshields, shade, there's really not a whole lot you can do with that.” Part of the problem in Arizona, King says, is that the state has a driver-responsibility law, such as that in Colorado, California and Oregon. That distinction means DPS officers have to match the photo of the speeder with one on a driver's license.

Authorities issue notices of violation to owners when a speed camera captures a clear picture of a license plate and a driver. But the vehicle's owner may deny being the driver. If authorities can't then match the camera image to a driver's-license photo, they can't issue a ticket. Other states, such as Louisiana, have a registered-owner responsibility law, which requires authorities to match only the license plate with a registered owner. The owner gets the ticket, even if they were not the one driving. “I don't think you could ever get to the 80% that we're targeting,” King says. “We have to actually be able to look in the picture and identify that person.”
 

May 18, 2009

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