Another battle against Arizonas red-light cameras

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX- Another bill has been introduced in Arizona’s Legislature to ban photo radar cameras in the state. Several attempts have been made to ban the cameras in the past -- without success.

The author of HB 2579 believes this time will be different.
“I think a lot of what has come to light will change the minds of our legislators,” said bill author Shawn Dow of Arizona’s Campaign for Liberty.
Campaign for Liberty is a political organization that has helped successfully ban red light cameras in 15 states.
“They increase accidents; it’s a pure scam. It violates Constitutional law. It violates state law,” Dow said.
Dow argues that recent allegations of corruption against Phoenix-based RedFlex Traffic Systems Inc. in Chicago should send a wake-up call to Arizona’s legislators.
“These private companies are bribing politicians,” Dow said.
An investigation last week by the Chicago Tribune newspaper unearthed allegations of RedFlex representatives bribing Chicago city officials.
RedFlex is headquartered in Arizona and operates some of the photo radar cameras here.
Dow also argues the cameras are unsafe. He points to numerous studies, including a 2008 University of South Florida study that showed the cameras increased accidents.
“These things are killing people. They’re increasing accidents and they need to be taken down,” Dow said.
RedFlex representative Jody Ryan sent a statement to 3TV, denying the allegations that the cameras are unsafe and citing a 2011 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
““Redflex Traffic Systems is a public safety company focused on saving lives; we employee over 200 Arizona based employees who focus each day on making our streets safer.  Studies show that traffic safety cameras change driver behavior over time, making roadways less dangerous.  In 2011, an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study showed that from 2004-2008 red light cameras saved 159 lives in 14 of the biggest US cities.  The study also showed that had cameras been operating during that period in all large cities, a total of 815 deaths would have been prevented. Chandler was one of the cities that participated in the study and showed the biggest drop in the rate of fatal red light running crashes where the decline was 79 percent. Phoenix also participated in the study and showed a 45% reduction in fatal red light running crashes.  We can’t undo the crashes have already taken loved ones, but we must do all we can to prevent more crashes from happening.”
HB 2579 heads to the House Transportation Committee Thursday. If it were to pass both the House and the Senate, it would require the governor’s signature before the cameras could be taken down.