Gilbert Rep. Travis Grantham says traffic cameras pose constitutional problems and serve solely as a revenue generator.

A Gilbert lawmaker wants to ban photo-enforcement cameras across the state, saying they generate money for the company that makes them and cities that use them but do little to keep the streets safe.

“It’s actually been shown in many areas to cause more accidents than it prevents,” Rep. Travis Grantham said. “It’s turned into a massive revenue-generating tool … which is why towns like Paradise Valley are so interested in keeping photo radar.”

The Republican legislator first proposed House Bill 2208 in 2016 because he said photo-enforcement cameras not only make traffic less safe, they pose constitutional problems and serve solely as a revenue generator.

“They’re not only affecting the citizens of their town, they’re affecting everyone that has to go through their town to go from Point A to Point B,” Grantham said.

At least one Valley police department, however, considers the cameras a means of increasing police presence on the streets.

“Photo enforcement can take the place of several officers,” said Lt. Michael P. Cole, a Paradise Valley Police Department spokesman. “And it’s a very cost-effective tool to reduce speeds and increase traffic safety while not having to add more officers. That can be more expensive to taxpayers and the residents.”

The cameras help slow drivers and prevent accidents, he said.

“With the population increase, the distraction increases in town,” Cole said. “We had 208 accidents compared to 400 (accidents) 30 years ago. After we put those speed signs up, our traffic citations went down 40 to 60 percent in those locations. For us, that’s a win. For us, it’s all about behavior modification. Slowing drivers down.”

Similar bills to ban cameras in Arizona cities have been unsuccessful.

But Grantham said these cameras don’t serve their purpose.

“Any time you privatize law enforcement, you’re really sensitizing bad behavior,” he said. “What you basically have right now is having private industry profiting off of their ability of issuing more and more tickets.”

The bill has passed some House committees but has not made it to the Senate.

“This legislation comes up every year,” Cole said, “so it’s not a new thing for us. What we really want to get across is, for us this is about traffic safety, it’s not about revenue.”

(6) comments

downtownresident

Traffic cameras do not increase accidents! They reduce the number and severity of accidents, and help to control law breakers who speed. Cities do not make money from traffic cameras, I know this because I did some research into revenue generated by photo enforcement. Only outlaws want traffic cameras outlawed!

Skrible54

I respectfully disagree. When people are driving down the road and see the cameras, they instinctively slam on the brakes. This can cause accidents (mainly, from people behind them tailgating, which is also a problem here in Arizona apparently). So, should you be doing any of these things (Speeding, tailgating)...NO. Do they do it? YES. I get the whole "change the behavior" argument, but let's face it, people are...well...people. I'm a transplant from another state (as many people here are) and I thought the driving could not get worse than where I came from. I was wrong. Why so wrong? Well, some drivers in this great state apparently think it's ok to cut people off, not use their turn signals, and speed. Of those, Speeding is the least offensive in my opinion. Let me explain...If people would follow the rules in terms of what lane to be in depending on the speed they are driving, there would be less accidents and less gridlock (although it's not horrible here). Slow drivers stick to the far right, faster drivers stick to the far left. I forget how they number the lanes here and I'm too lazy to check, but you get the idea. There has been countless times when a slow driver has been backing up traffic because they are driving at a snail's pace in the fast lane. It's not only irritating, it causes traffic to back up. MOVE OVER if you are driving at slow speeds. and let others pass. But I digress...My solution to the problem would be that rather than installing cameras to create revenue for the city where they are installed and for the company that makes/installs them (and let's face it, it is a BUSINESS), why not raise the speed limit a few more miles per hour? let's face it, not many people actually follow those painfully slow speed limits anyway. It is worth repeating, "people are people"...and all that it entails. There are solutions to speeding, but let's start by educating people on what lanes they should be in depending on their speed. I can hear some people saying, "but there are already signs telling slower traffic to stay right". Yes, I know. but maybe we can keep repeating this until it sinks in. Take this how you want to take it, it's just an opinion, but it's worth mentioning. Thank you.

downtownresident

Skrible54 , alternative facts! You said, "When people are driving down the road and see the cameras, they instinctively slam on the brakes." Really? You must live in an alternative universe. Nothing you say is based in fact! Cutting people off, not using their turn signals, and even speeding are not what most enforcement cameras do. They enforce red light violations. Your "solution" to raise the speed limit a few more miles per hour is a sure killer! At least in Mesa, speed limits are already adjusted so that only 15% of drivers speed. Raise it and it'll never stop rising. Enforcement SAVES LIVES! It does not make cities any money.

Skrible54

Downtownresident, You are entitled to your opinion as I am to mine. You can't say "Nothing you say is based in fact" as you do not know what I have seen, so you can hold that little thought to yourself. And trust me, I live in the same universe you do, but I do not close my eyes to the truths around me. You pointed out that "Cutting people off, not using their turn signals, and even speeding are not what most enforcement cameras do", and you are correct, however, I did not say that was related to enforcement cameras now did I? Please re-read the comment and you will see. Bottome line, I don't agree with cameras watching our every move for the purpose of making money for the city or the camra company if you are even over one mile over the speed limit. I preffer speed bumps (On streets, not Freeways of course). There is nothing more jarring than being surprised by a speedbump when you are going too fast. The truth of the matter is that somebody always benefits from the fines generated by these cameras, so don't fool yourself. That is the way of this world. This is truth.

Skrible54

Downtownresident, You are entitled to your opinion as I am to mine. You can't say "Nothing you say is based in fact" as you do not know what I have seen, so you can hold that little thought to yourself. And trust me, I live in the same universe you do, but I do not close my eyes to the truths around me. You pointed out that "Cutting people off, not using their turn signals, and even speeding are not what most enforcement cameras do", and you are correct, however, I did not say that was related to enforcement cameras now did I? Please re-read the comment and you will see. Bottome line, I don't agree with cameras watching our every move for the purpose of making money for the city or the camera company if you are even over one mile over the speed limit. I preffer speed bumps (On streets, not Freeways of course). There is nothing more jarring than being surprised by a speedbump when you are going too fast. The truth of the matter is that somebody always benefits from the fines generated by these cameras, so don't fool yourself. That is the way of this world. This is truth.

MacGregor

Wrong. They cause more accidents and do nothing to make the streets "safer". They are a revenue generating tool. But don't take my word for it. The following presents facts that you can absorb or refute as you see fit. But the only "alternative facts" are coming from you.

Hyperbolic statements do not help your argument.

https://www.motorists.org/issues/red-light-cameras/increase-accidents/

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