Speeding Photo Enforcement

The ticket arrived in my California mailbox yesterday, from the Arizona automated traffic enforcement folks.

At first, I thought this must be some kind of bizarre mistake.

But it wasn’t. At the bottom of the citation was a front-view photo of me driving (photo arguable), and rear-view of my license plate (unquestionably me). The date and time exactly matched my California-bound departure from Phoenix. I left the house at 6:01AM on the 4th, and the picture was taken at 6:21AM, vicinity of the 10 mile post at 59th Avenue.

I do remember seeing a photo enforcement warning sign. Even though there is hardly anyone on the road that early in the morning, I figured I was driving 3mph over the limit and should be OK. The AZ limit on Interstate 10 is 75. I looked for patrol cars in the rear view mirror. Seeing none, I again assumed I was OK.

Welcome to the wonderful world of fully automated enforcement. I had read about it, but didn’t quite “get it” – this was my first encounter.

The fine was $181.50. The trouble was, this close to town, the limit was still 65.

Speeders never prosper (still image)

Speeders never prosper

There’s a web page where I was able to pay the fine and view a video of my infraction. I wasn’t able to save the video to my PC, so got a screen capture. Other vehicles in the video appeared to be traveling roughly the same speed. Recession or not, Arizona should be making a tidy little bundle on this stretch of road.

But no matter. I should have known better. Now, you can bet I will never forget this stretch of highway – which is what the fines are designed to do anyway.

And, if one were thinking of contesting the speed, it’s not measured by photometrics, or even by radar. The camera is connected to physical in-road sensors. The images are encrypted and tamper-proof. For fixing vehicular speed, it’s really a lot cheaper and more scientifically objective than a traffic cop’s citation. I don’t think one could argue successfully there was any mistake at all.

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