11/4/2015Tucson, Arizona Voters Reject Traffic Cameras
Red light cameras and speed cameras lose at the ballot box in Tucson, Arizona.
Tucson, Arizona on Tuesday became the third Arizona city to outlaw the use of red light cameras and speed cameras at the ballot box. By a margin of 65.9 percent to 34.1 percent, residents approved Proposition 201, which will send the city's private vendor, American Traffic Solutions (ATS), packing.
The successful vote came as a result of the work of Tucson Traffic Justice, an all-volunteer group that collected 53,000 signatures on a petition forcing the city council to put the measure before voters. The organization's leader, former state lawmaker John Kromko, believes ATS may attempt to keep the city's photo ticketing contract alive, as it has done in other cities where the people have rejected photo enforcement. In Tucson, the new voter-approved ordinance prohibits the use of photo evidence for traffic tickets, regardless of the status of the contract.
"I wrote [the initiative] so that they just can't use that evidence," Kromko told TheNewspaper. "So we're protected against drone tickets in the future."
The public opposed cameras in the end, despite the efforts of unidentified camera supporters who attempted to influence the results by going around town defacing and removing the "Yes on 201, Ban red light cameras" campaign signs. Kromko spent $300 to replace the advertisements.
Kromko's case against the use of cameras was bolstered by a recent analysis of state accident records that showed no safety benefit to the use of red light cameras.
"Red light cameras and automated photo radar enforcement supposedly protect us from reckless drivers," the Tucson Traffic Justice website stated. "A closer look at the situation, however, reveals that the tickets are little more than a revenue generator for American Traffic Solutions and the city of Tucson."
The first ever public vote on the use of speed cameras happened 24 years ago in Peoria, Arizona when 70 percent of residents voted to reject cameras. More recently, 72 percent of voters in Sierra Vista insisted on sending the camera companies packing. Nationwide, voters have banned the use of automated ticketing machines by referendum thirty-four times (view complete list).