Speed cameras are a topic of controversy in Arizona. Speed cameras use sensors in the roadways to record the speed of passing cars, and then the cameras take pictures of vehicles going over the speed limit. The idea for this came about when the state was trying to find ways to make up for a budget deficit. Since the cameras were first installed along Arizona freeways in early 2008, the state has made almost $20 million dollars.
There are nearly fifty speed cameras in Phoenix alone. Most of these are along the main highways. Interstate 10, for example, has cameras at most of the major intersections, including 27th, 35th, 43rd, 75th, and 59th streets. Interstate 17 also has several, including 15th Avenue, 12th Street, Thunderbird, and Bell Road. US 60 has speed cameras at Thomas Road, Highland Avenue, and Bethany Homes Road. Along Southbound SR-101, there are speed cameras at Olive Road, McDowell Road, and Indian School Road, among others.
The city of Scottsdale has nine red light and speed cameras. Some of these are located at Southbound Hayden Road at Indian School Road, Eastbound McDowell Road at Scottsdale road, and Southbound Scottsville Road at Shea Boulevard. There are also speed cameras at Northbound Scottsdale Road at Cactus Road, and another at Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard. Scottsdale also has four mobile speed enforcement vans, with picture-taking capabilities, to be used around the city.
There are 30 speed cameras used in Mesa, Arizona. Six of these are along Power Road, at Baseline, Broadway, Hampton, Main, McKellips, and Southern roads. Southern Road also has speed cameras at Gilbert, Higley, Country Club, Val Vista, Stapley, and Dobson. Alma School has speed cameras at the Southern Street and Guadalupe intersections. There are also several cameras in the Rhodes Jr. High area.
There are several other cities in Arizona that use speed cameras. Peoria has cameras at three intersections. Chandler has both red light and speed cameras at twelve intersections. Tempe has nine speed cameras, six at intersections and three mid-block, between intersections. Avondale has two speed cameras. In addition to cameras, most of these cities also use vans to monitor speeds and distribute tickets for exceeding the posted speed limits.
Following the posted speed limits is the best way to reduce the chance of getting a ticket from a speed camera. The fines for being caught by a speed camera are steep, most of them costing at least $200. Fortunately, the websites of most Arizona cities have lists, and sometimes maps, of the locations of speed and red light cameras.
The use of speed cameras to bring in funds and cut down on speeding has been met with a lot of opposition. Hundreds of faulty tickets have been sent out, and some police agencies have begun to abuse the power of speed cameras. Many claim that the cameras are unfair, even unconstitutional, and that their use should be discontinued. Until then, drivers should be aware of the location of any speed cameras in their area.