Arizona voters may get a chance to do what lawmakers have not: outlaw photo radar and similar systems to catch speeders.
A new initiative launched by two business owners would bar the state or local governments from issuing citations based on evidence obtained from photo enforcement cameras like the ones already operated by many cities and the system being deployed statewide by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
The proposal contains an exception for motorists clocked traveling more than 20 mph over the posted speed limit.
"It's one of those public safety types of issues," said Dane Platt, one of the initiative organizers. "If you're going 20 miles an hour over the speed limit, you probably are endangering the public safety."
And the initiative, if it makes the 2010 ballot and is approved by voters, would not affect "red light cameras" which photograph motorists who do not stop at intersections.
Platt said it's not personal, saying he has never received a photo radar speeding ticket. The Chandler resident said, though, that he and his business partner, William Carey of Mesa, took notice when DPS started erecting photo enforcement cameras on U.S. 60.
"We didn't think it was serving the purpose of making streets safer," he said. "We figured it was just a revenue source for the state."
The pair need to collect 153,365 valid signatures by July 1, 2010, to put the measure before voters that year.
Platt acknowledged that effort may require money, whether to hire paid circulators or just to publicize the issue. But he said that won't be a problem.
"I know a whole lot of people who are interested as well," he said. "So I'm sure we can get the volunteers and the contributions we need to get it done."
The statewide photo enforcement system was pushed into law earlier this year by Gov. Janet Napolitano. She acknowledged it was designed in a way to generate maximum revenue by convincing people not to fight the $165 tickets: Offenders accumulate no points against their license. And the citations are not reported to insurance companies who can use that information to raise premiums or deny coverage.