Looking closer at the use of photo radar

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX - Photo radar is still clicking away on the the highways and streets of Arizona, but soon the DPS Redflex camera's will be going away.

3TV takes a look at how the program panned out, and for the cameras still out there a new product to give you a heads up.

Photo radar is just about everywhere you want to drive, with cities using the system as well as finding cameras on Arizona freeways and interstates it's hard to keep track of all the locations.

And if you doubt that just check out the number of violations that have been issued through the state since the program's inception in 2008. In all more than 720,000 violation notifications have been sent out. It's a staggering number, but even more interesting, not counting the ones still making their way thru the courts, just over half have actually been paid.

To date the paid violations are at around 384,000. With DPS ending its contract with Redflex this summer, those cameras will be gone, but the ones around the cities will still be on and that's what keeps manufacturers coming up with ideas such as the GPS Angel. Jeff Inman put it to the test. 

"You just plug it in, you set it on front of the dashboard there and it will send A signal up obviously into space and one of the satellites and it will send it right back down and get your current position," Inman said. "This detector has a number of different features to it. It will detect either a red light camera or a speed camera."

The device charts your location against an on board database of over six thousand known red light and speed cameras.

"So now this is indicating that there is a red light camera up ahead," he said.

No doubt it would be hard to miss that reminder of the photo radar. The device can also be used to alert a driver if they're going faster than what they set as a maximum speed. All those beeps and flashing lights however might be a problem all their own according to Inman.

"It can be distracting, there are different lights that are flashing determining if it's a red light camera. If it's a speed camera sometimes its going in both directions," he said. "The little lights, the little signal, sometimes its only going in one area, so it can be distracting."

On the positive side this GPS system doesn't require a monthly fee to keep it updated and it's legal according to DPS Officer Bob Bailey. 

"If they can be alerted to a photo enforcement zone ahead on top of the signs which are already posted..that is just fine," Bailey said.

Devices that rely on GPS however will not work on mobile photo radar so although the DPS vans will go away cities and towns use them as well   

For the most part the device was able to alert drivers, but Inman said he didn't always get a warning.

"It worked about 80 percent of the time," he said.

And while the governor's office says its not planning on renewing the Redflex contract, there is still a move to ban photo enforcement within 600 feet of a speed limit change.

And that would effect the cameras still operating in cities. Governor Brewer has until mid week to sign the measure banning cameras within 600 feet of a speed limit change. In the meantime a group of citizens is still working to gather enough signatures to put photo radar in Arizona to a vote.