Bill banning photo radar approved by Arizona Senate panel

Photo radar may soon be done here in Arizona, as a bill that would ban photo radar cameras in our state clears its first roadblock at the state legislature.

Supporters of the ban say traffic cameras are unconstitutional and intrusive. Critics argue that photo radar helps save lives. 

This is a bill that comes up just about every legislative session, but this law made it out of committee and could be on its way to becoming law.

The bill that would ban photo radar throughout Arizona was sponsored by Lake Havasu City Senator Kelli Ward. She calls all photo enforcement unconstitutional. 

"Our right to privacy, our right to face our accusers are taken away by using cameras doing law enforcement rather than sworn officers," said Senator Kelli Ward.

SB1167 passed a Senate committee despite law enforcement leaders from several cities saying photo radar enforcement works to reduce crashes. 

Ward says too many cities have come to rely on the revenue from photo radar tickets. 

"You know the cameras have no discretion, you're over by 0.1 second and you get a ticket. The officers if they even pull you over, turning on a yellow can ask you what is going on," said Ward.

"If you don't want a ticket, don't run a red light and don't speed, it's that simple," said Becky Fenger, who supports photo enforcement. 

"I like fast cars, racy cars, racy shoes, but I don't want Lincoln Drive turning back into the Lincoln Drive speedway like it was before photo radar," she said.

She says the cameras have helped, but worry about what will happen if SB1167 becomes law.

"They will instantly put the pedal to the metal, and again we will be very careful with our friends and in coming and going because it is dangerous," said Fenger.

The bill now heads back to the house, and it could be at least a month before it eventually makes its way to Governor Ducey's desk if it gets that far this time around.

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