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home : opinions : opinions April 25, 2015

3/20/2013 10:42:00 AM
Time to rethink radar cameras, but decision has consequences
Trib file photo
Trib file photo

The Town of Prescott Valley in October 2006 contracted with the Redflex company and installed photo radar in an effort to stop a growing speeding and red light running problem.

According to town statistics, the Prescott Valley Police Department between 2004-2006 investigated 10 fatal crashes, hundreds of serious injury crashes, and more than 1,000 non-injury crashes. Investigation showed that speed, along with impairment, were the leading causes of these crashes.

The cameras had immediate results. Accident rates and red light running incidents were reduced by 30 percent, town statistics show. However, the debate over the cameras has continued. Comments from people who don't like the photo radar cameras are met with those from people who are happy about the improved safety and who say if drivers slow down, they have nothing to worry about.

Opponents have asserted that the photo radar enforcement is a "cash cow" for the town, despite the fact that the town receives just 13 percent of the money collected from the average ticket. Additionally, people who have visited the community and received tickets, and others who live here, say the cameras create an unwelcoming ambience, both for tourism and business.

In light of this week's allegations via an independent audit that some Prescott Valley police officers elected to reject infractions for family members, the fallout from a Chicago Tribune expose of corruption involving Redflex and Chicago city government, along with growing public aversion to the cameras, it's probably time for the town to rethink its contract with Redflex, which expires this fall.

However, among other places, the cameras in Prescott Valley are installed at two critical intersections - Prescott East Highway at the West end of town, and Glassford Hill and Long Look at the entrance to Bradshaw Mountain High School.

One retired local teacher said he saw red light runners at the school intersection on a daily basis. Highway 69 at Prescott East also sees some of the heaviest traffic in the town. Most people who drive in Prescott Valley can name other areas that because of their configuration and people's lack of driving safety create constantly dangerous situations.

The question Prescott Valley residents now must ask themselves is, "If we do away with the cameras, how will we keep critical traffic areas of our community safe?"

When all we have to do is pay a fine or attend traffic school if we run afoul of these photo radar cameras, it's one thing. It's completely another if we have to mourn a high schooler, a mom or dad, or another family member because someone ran a red light, or their speed caused them to lose control and have a collision.

Town Council will hear a presentation on its Redflex photo radar contract and the town's options at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in council chambers, however this an informational meeting only, not for public comment. If you're concerned, be there.

It's your decision, but one with consequences.

Related Stories:
• Council backs cutting ties with Redflex - but might seek another contractor
• Council to discuss future of photo radar enforcement
• News investigation reveals Redflex bribery in Chicago
• Prescott Valley cop nixed wife's 7 photo radar tickets

Related Links:
• Event: PV Town Council work/study meeting

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, March 23, 2013
Article comment by: Reed T.

I suggest you install a speed bump every three feet on every road in PV, then maybe we might never have to "mourn a high schooler" ever again.

Or maybe, without the cameras, PV won't look like a police state and then someone will want to stop there and spend money and that high schooler could find a job!

Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Article comment by: Russ Ahrens

To follow up on the articulate comment made by Mr. Arps and on the article itself, two of the reasons I move out of PV were 1) Hwy 69 being a magnet for disaster, and 2) the notorious intrusion of the speed traps. Suggest the Town Council spend more time on the "town's options" rather than reviewing then the Redflex contract. All of your best interests are in having them get to the heart of the problem by identifying the most effective measure or measures, focusing on all the vital elements (safety, tourism, etc.) of their discussion, carefully evaluating the consequences of each. I'd first review the 13% income to the town from an average ticket, by matching that income against the weight of the positives and the negatives of having a speed radar system. I would also suggest that the Town Council spend the funds against involving the citizenry in their eventual decision by 1) a town survey, 2) numerous "town hall" meetings. It appears that the importance of this issue requires adequate time and adequate citizen input in order to make the most democratically effective decision.

Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Article comment by: Craig Arps

If that is the case the person responsible will be the one who drove the vehicle and they should be justly punished, not the people who want to take down the cameras. There is no way to prove that such an accident would have been prevented by them. Personal responsibility is an American value and it applies here. If I get to be 80 years old and I'm looking on at my grandchildren living in a world where the government uses cameras to enforce laws with impunity, then I will have no one but myself to blame for not taking personal responsibility to guard my liberty today.

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