Motorists thinking they’ve beat the red light won’t be getting any help from the state in beating the ticket, at least not this year.

Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday vetoed legislation to alter the legal definition of an “intersection” in state law. Brewer, in her 19th veto of the session, said she feared such a change would lead to more accidents.

Under state law, a motorist breaks the law by entering an intersection after the light has turned red. But the law defines intersection as being any point beyond the line that extends from the adjacent curbs.

Sen. Frank Antenori, R-Tucson, said that is misleading. He said motorists who are in the crosswalk at the time the light changes presume they can proceed through.

They cannot, at least not legally. And Antenori said some cities take advantage of the misunderstanding by setting up red-light cameras to capture errant drivers.

Brewer, in her veto message, was unconvinced, saying police believe the most dangerous place in city traffic is an intersection.

“This danger can only be heightened by increasing the time in which a collision may occur while simultaneously attempting to reeducate drivers concerning where the boundaries lie,” she wrote. The governor also said that police concerns were not taken into account.

Brewer instead directed the state Department of Transportation to work with lawmakers and the Department of Public Safety to look closer at the issue before next year. And she warned that the views of police have to be considered.

“I will not support this change unless law enforcement stands with it,” she said.

The question of police views became an issue during the session.

A Phoenix police officer testified against the measure when it came before the House Transportation Committee, saying he believes it would lead to more accidents and deaths. That led to the committee killing that version of the bill and triggered an angry shouting match between Antenori and the officer outside the hearing room.

(5) comments

Dale Whiting

Guys,

Jan Brewer lives in a vacuum. "“I will not support this change unless law enforcement stands with it,” she said. What does she mean by "law enforcement?" Is that the view of only Arizona law enforcement or the considerably broader view of law enforcement across the nation?

We can debate this until the grass grows tall over Brewer's grave. Her stubborn mind is made up. Some of us possess minds which are similarly all made up, like those who express the age old sayings like "Reasonable people, driving at reasonable speeds don't run red lights." and "Careless, distracted, inexperienced drivers deserve a ticket." and will not be deterred in their opinions either.

I choose to respect the national consensus. If for no other reason, the consensus is generally correct. And this fact is not easily dismissed. Arizona is an outstanding state, outstanding in some grassly field located somewhere in Outer Mongolia, not in western society. And Arizona has the governor it deserves!


Zeigh

Downtownresident,

I am constantly amazed at people who naively think that "if you don't break the law, you have nothing to fear" with automated traffic enforcement. Please review my favorite story of how automated traffic enforcement really works:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eB2cZqvoOBI

Want more? How about the California sheriff that was in charge of photo enforcement in his city and received multiple tickets for a driver that wasn't him, even though his name was digitally signed as legally verifying the information. HA! There are scores of such stories verified by the press online. Want even more?

In 2001, the red-light vendor that Mesa contracted with at the time was loosing money from 5 of the city's 17 cameras. It turned out that at the yellow light timing at these intersections had been increased from approximately 3 to 4 seconds (basically what the vetoed bill would have accomplished) by a City worker. Suddenly, violations dropped 73% and an estimated $300,000 a month was being lost according to news reports. The Police Department loved this, but Lockheed Martin (who were later sold to ACS and then Xerox) took legal action against the city for breech of contract. Their contract stated that once the cameras were installed, that yellow light timing was not to be changed. Subsequently, cameras at those 5 intersections were removed and Mesa eliminated the 0.3 seconds of red light "grace" time at the remaining camera sites in the bargaining.

Yup, it is al about the money and conning taxpayers to believe it is for their own safety. Until voters get a chance to give their say (another bill that was defeated this session), honest Arizonians will be extorted...

downtownresident

You guys are both full of it. Reasonable people, driving at reasonable speeds don't run red lights.
Careless, distracted, inexperienced drivers deserve a ticket.
lighted name signs for the cross streets?????????????????
lighted name signs for the cross streets??????????????????
Hayburner3 has been burning weed again I see.

Hayburner3

Red light cams are Snake Oil. They can't stop the real late runners, who cause the crashes. (If cameras worked, sellers wouldn't have the crash videos they show us.)
A real late runner (2+ secs. into the red) doesn't do it on purpose. He doesn't know (a visitor) or doesn't remember (a distracted or impaired "local") that there's a camera up ahead, so the presence of a camera won't stop him. To cut these real late runs, improve the visual cues that say, "signal ahead." Florida's DOT found that better pavement markings (paint!) cut running by up to 74%. Make the signal lights bigger, add backboards, and put the poles on the NEAR side of the corner. Put brighter bulbs in the street lights at intersections. Put up lighted name signs for the cross streets.
Cameras are not "neutral" - they come with many side effects: They (indirectly) block emergency vehicles - cars stopped at a camera hesitate to get out of the way! Other side effects: Rearenders, local $$$ sent to Oz or Goldman-Sachs in NYC, where it won't come back, and tourists and shoppers driven away.
Want safety, no side effects?
Install the visual cues.
To cut car/pedestrian accidents, train your kids (and yourself) not to step out just 'cuz the walk sign came on.
To cut nuisance running (a fraction of a second late), lengthen the yellows. It's cheap to do so can be done all over town.
Who needs cameras?
Who needs their side effects?
Who needs gullible politicians who fall for Snake Oil? What will they fall for next?

Zeigh

Governor Brewer's veto of this very simple and common sense bill shows how much she either failed to research the matter or how much influence that RedFlex Traffic Systems, Inc. and American Traffic Solutions, Inc. (both with world corporate offices here) have a handle on her. While she states that she will side with law enforcement on the matter, she really means one of the few biased police officers that could be found to testify. ALL the officers that I work with easy see this issue for the greedy money issue that it is and feel that this bill would have had NO impact on traffic safety. Even the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) strongly recommends in their Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices that traffic intersections be defined via the crosswalk!

So, here is what the failure of this bill really means. Any driver who recently moved there or is visiting from any other state (besides Alaska) will pass through traffic intersections with the definition that the crosswalk is their boundary line. When they are confronted with the light changing as they approach the intersection, they will make their split-second judgements on whether to proceed safely or apply the brakes based upon this knowledge. This is called the "dilemma zone", where speed limit, yellow light timing, and the reaction time of the average motorist should help avoid both abrupt stops and forceful acceleration. So, an otherwise safe driver can and often does receive a traffic ticket that they wouldn't get the majority of the USA. A human police officer would not have detected anything unsafe. Yup, welcome to Arizona!

You want safer intersections? Start first by applying the standardization guidelines urged by the (FHWA) in engineering, yellow light timing, and more...

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