Some drivers question West Valley photo radar camera

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PHOENIX -- Is a West Valley photo radar camera taking pictures when drivers are traveling the speed limit?

Some say "yes."

I got a half dozen e-mails from people who say something "weird" is going on.

Those people all tell me they were not speeding in a 65-mph zone when their photo was snapped by a particular camera, but the state of Arizona says otherwise.

Teresa Eggert likes to think of herself as a safe driver who actually liked photo radar -- that is until she received a ticket recently indicating she had been caught speeding.

"I told you, it's highway robbery," Eggert said.

Strong words and it's all because of a stretch of the eastbound Loop 101 in the West Valley.

It's clearly marked as a 65-mph zone, yet according to Eggert's ticket, the area is listed as a 55-mph zone and Eggert was busted for travelling 11 miles an hour over 55.

"I don't have a speeding issue, I don't have a problem driving the speed limit, but if you want me to drive 55, then post 55," she said.

When Eggert and other drivers complained to 3 On Your Side, we checked it out and they were right. The area is in fact 65 miles an hour not 55, so they weren't speeding, right?

Well, according to a Department of Public Safety spokesman, that's not exactly true.

"People are missing these big signs that say reduce speed ahead, construction zone," said Lt. James Warner with DPS.

Warner said at the time those motorists were ticketed, it was because they had just entered a construction zone that was there at the time and the speed was reduced from 65 down to 55 miles an hour.

Not only was there a speed limit sign with orange flags, but DPS claims there was a second sign saying "reduce speed."

If motorists didn't see those signs at the time, then DPS says that's the drivers' fault.

"There's nothing we can do," Warner said. "I don't know what else we can do. We give them as much notice as we possibly can."

But Eggert and others say they never saw any signs telling them to reduce their speed and they certainly don't remember a construction zone.

"Then I have a problem with that and it's nothing more than highway robbery," Eggert said.

By the way, DPS tells me they are not the ones deciding where a construction zone is going to be. The Department of Transportation tells them then DPS adjusts the cameras.

In the meantime, the secret to beating photo radar is simple, set your cruise at 60 miles an hour and leave it. Doing 60 in a 55 will not trigger the cameras and going a little slower in 65 won't matter much anyway.