State Capitol News
11:03 am
Thu June 18, 2009

Senate mulls change to photo radar system

Phoenix, AZ – A Senate panel voted Wednesday to remove the incentives now in
law for people not to fight the speeding tickets they receive
from the new statewide photo radar system.

It was Janet Napolitano who pushed the program into law last year
as part of the deal to balance the budget. It sets up 100 fixed
and mobile cameras to catch speeders. But it was designed to
convince people to simply pay up: The tickets accumulate no
points on a motorist's license. And the citations aren't reported
to insurance companies who can use the information to hike
someone's premium or cancel coverage outright. Lobbyist Wendy
Briggs of the American Insurance Assocation said that was a
mistake.

(If someone is driving down the highway and speeding on a regular
basis, it's highly predictive that a: they may get into an
accident, and b: that accident may be severe the faster they go.
That's backed up by a number of statistics and research.)

She said that's why her clients want the information. Members of
the Senate Committee on Public Safety and Human Services voted 4-
2 to allow those photo radar citations to be reported to the
Motor Vehicle Divison and, by extension, to insurance companies.
If the measure does become law, that doesn't mean the only option
of a motorist captured on camera would be to smile and pay that
$165 fine. Like any other traffic citation, drivers would retain
the option of erasing a ticket once every two years by going to a
defensive driving class.