Arizona State Rep. Kelly Townsend wants a new state law on the books. And, it's all because of a 3 On Your Side report she came across.
“So, I read the story and I was embarrassed. I was like, 'Are you kidding me?' We're doing that?'" Townsend said.
She's talking about homeowners associations that are using handheld radar guns to enforce speed limits within their community.
In a previous 3 On Your Side report, Bernie Van Emden told us he was shocked when his own HOA sent him a notice and pictures saying it busted him for driving 2 miles an hour over the posted speed limit.
"When you got that letter from the HOA, what did you think?" 3 On Your Side asked Van Emden.
"I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life," he replied.
[READ MORE: Can your HOA issue you a speeding ticket?]
In Van Emden’s community, it's not uniformed police officers running radar. Instead, it's homeowners who are with the HOA's so-called Patrol Office. They're running radar and sending out fines to their own neighbors like Van Emden. The fines do not affect your driver’s license and are simply an HOA fine.
So, 3 On Your Side went to the Patrol Office for Van Emden’s HOA. Here, we spoke with James Curcio, the Patrol Office’s director. He told 3 On Your Side what they're doing is legal, and surprisingly, he's right.
“How many citations do you think you've issued?" Harper asked. “Is it dozens or hundreds?"
“Well, it’s hard to say,” Curcio replied. “But, I’d say hundreds.”
Rep. Towsend says the practice is ridiculous.
"To have your neighbor 'Bob' pull out a radar gun and clock you going 2 miles an hour over and slapping you with a $50 fine is not acceptable," she said.
So, as a result, Rep. Townsend is introducing House Bill 2540 to regulate the issue.
The legislation states the "... radar unit should be properly calibrated by a licensed facility..." to ensure the device is accurate before issuing fines.
It also says radar operators should have at least 10 hours of training using a radar gun. As of now, it's unclear what, if any, training is given.
And finally, Townsend's bill says an HOA won't be able to issue a speeding fine unless a homeowner is driving "...at least 10 miles an hour above the posted speed limit."
“Do you think 10 miles per hour is the perfect threshold?” Harper asked.
“Well, we'll start there and see where we get. But, I think 10 mph is good," she replied.
And, as far as any resistance from other lawmakers, Rep. Townsend says there really hasn't been any and believes her bill has a good shot at becoming a state law.
"The pushback that I have had isn't that we should not do this bill. It's that we should outlaw these (radar guns) completely because HOA neighbors should not be in charge of law enforcement."
Of course, 3 On Your Side will stay on top of the bill. We’ll monitor it and let you know if it sails through or if it’s eventually killed.
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