Legislator fights 101 radar ban - East Valley Tribune: News

Legislator fights 101 radar ban

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Posted: Thursday, April 7, 2005 6:03 am | Updated: 8:32 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A Scottsdale legislator is making a last-ditch attempt to exempt Loop 101 from a legislative proposal to ban the potential use of photo radar on freeways.

Republican Michele Reagan said she plans to offer a House floor amendment Thursday that would allow Scottsdale to offer a yearlong pilot program, with any profits from speeding tickets going to the Arizona Department of Public Safety to buy body armor.

"Whether you support photo radar or not, a lot of people want to know why the Legislature is trying to tell the Scottsdale City Council what it can or can’t do (to protect public safety)," Reagan said. "As a representative, I feel I have to do something about it."

But the main point of SB1164 is to stop Scottsdale or anyone else from expanding the use of photo radar to divided freeways, said Republican sponsors Rep. Andy Biggs and Sen. Thayer Verschoor, both of Gilbert.

"I’m going to vigorously oppose her amendment," Biggs said.

SB1164 already has been approved in the Senate. The bill likely would go to a joint conference committee if the House approves the bill with Reagan’s amendment.

Last year, Scottsdale proposed that Loop 101 become the first U.S. freeway to be patrolled with photo radar after a series of fatal collisions that were blamed on speeding, with some motorists exceeding 100 mph. DPS and local law enforcement agencies also have tried special enforcement task forces to discourage speeders.

Verschoor has said photo radar on freeways could cause more collisions as motorists suddenly brake in attempt to avoid a ticket.

Photo radar is used on city streets throughout the Valley to supplement police patrols. But the practice is criticized by some conservatives and libertarians as a invasion of privacy.

Others, including the AAA, say photo radar often generates more revenue for local governments without substantially improving traffic safety.

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