An Arizona legislator has introduced a ridiculous bill to punish owners of vehicles in alleged traffic violations, and not the actual driver. This is a recurring issue. Arizona photo radar enforcement mechanisms are rampant across Arizona. Penalties for violations can be severe, including points assessed to your license, fines, increased insurance rates and mandatory traffic school for certain convictions.
Currently, these systems work by allegedly measuring a vehicle’s speed and then snapping a photo of the driver. The driver, of course, would be the one responsible for the vehicle’s speed. But now, an Arizona legislator wants to shift responsibility from the driver of the vehicle to the owner of the vehicle. Representative Bob Thorpe, Republican of Flagstaff has introduced a bill HB2366 which will eliminate the requirement that photo enforcement systems take a picture of the driver. This means that lending your car to your friend, family, or colleague may lead to personal liability for you in the event that they receive a photo radar citation.
As a result of another person’s driving, the owner of the vehicle who had no involvement whatsoever in the alleged infraction will receive points on their license, increased insurance rates, and be obligated to pay fines and fees.
Why would Representative Thorpe introduce such legislation that punishes people who are clearly not responsible?
Perhaps to make the process of collecting massive amounts of revenue even easier? In 2014-2015, Paradise Valley collected $2,147,023 in fines from photo radar citations. Similarly, the city of Scottsdale collected a net profit of $1,533,864 from photo radar enforcement. Both cities have paid millions of dollars to the photo enforcement companies, American Traffic Solutions and RedFlex. Both companies have lucrative contracts with cities across Arizona and directly profit from the issuance of citations, earning hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars.
The idea that these systems modify behavior is a myth. Many motorists receive citations for these alleged violations weeks if not months after the alleged infraction occurred. Most have no idea that there was even a ticket issued. Contrast this situation with actual traffic enforcement with a live officer. The officer has the ability to use his or her discretion to identify a violation that is hazardous, and then immediately issue the citation. This afford the driver the opportunity to realize that an infraction may have occurred and correct their behavior. With photo radar, none of this ability for reflection happens. Instead, the owner receives a bill in the mail.
The fact is, these systems are in operation to generate revenue for municipalities, and Representative Thorpe has introduced a bill to streamline this process. Find your legislators and explain your displeasure with this proposal to extort the taxpayers and citizens of Arizona while contributing nothing to road way safety.