Drivers sped up after enforcement cameras shut down

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Drivers sped up after enforcement cameras shut down

By Craig Smith. CREATED Jan 20, 2014

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Drivers didn't waste any time pouring on the speed as soon as Pima County pulled the plugs on it's speed enforcement cameras...
But it seems the County didn't pull all the plugs so there's hard data that shows how hard drivers stomped on the gas.

You don't have to worry about a ticket, the contractor for the system promises it is not taking pictures...
But it is getting anonymous data.  Sensors in the pavement are still making a note when someone comes through at eleven over the limit and more people are doing just that.
So we pulled out our Speedbusters radar to check drivers at one site ourselves...

When the cameras shut off, it seems more drivers took off...
The camera contractor, American Traffic Systems, says from January 7th to the 19, two years ago, about 15 hundred cars tripped the sensors by driving through at eleven over the speed limit. 
The number dropped to around 12 hundred for the same period last year.
But as of January 7th, this year, the day after the cameras shut off, the numbers of speeders jumped four and a half times the number for the same period the year before.

George Brogen says he's no fan of speeding but he's not surprised by how drivers behaved when the cameras shut off.

"What do they say? When the cat's away, the mice are gonna play?"
Drivers like Javier Ramos say the cameras only had a temporary effect anyway.

"Do people actually slow down?  Yeah.  While they go through the camera, then afterwards, speed back up."
But some drivers say the speeds they see are just creeping up a bit.

So we brought the KGUN9 Speedbusters Radar to a shut-down camera site on West Valencia...
45 is the speed limit there.
Our radar zapping, some drivers zipping above the limit, but not the eleven over that would have set the camera flashing. We found a few drivers going about 51.

And drivers know cameras are not the only reason to behave themselves.

KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked Connie Smith: You said you saw someone writing a ticket right near here?" 

Connie Smith: "Yeah," she laughed, "Right on Mission, just as I turned the corner."

Pima County Supervisors did say they want the Sheriff's Department to develop a county-wide speed enforcement program. Because supervisors were off for the Martin Luther King holiday, we'll have to catch them to learn their take on this data.

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

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Craig enjoys using innovative writing and visuals to make difficult stories easier to understand. As a newsroom manager at KGUN 9, Craig was part of the team that won three best newscast awards from Arizona Associated Press