TPD: Photo radar increases safety


Photo radar cameras may cause a headache to local drivers but it is the safest route to take when it comes to Tucson traffic.

Tucson Police Department is raising the awareness of Pima Community College students to always drive with caution, and avoid running red lights.

TPD Sergeant Sean Bailey held a presentation at Pima’s East Campus regarding photo and speed enforcement.

Bailey started off by naming several intersections throughout Tucson that have permanent photo cameras. Mobile vans and officers are also used to investigate photo and speed violations.

The most common question that sergeant Bailey hears is, “I received a ticket while I was passing through a green light. Why?”

Bailey replies with, “How fast were you going?”

Most drivers are unaware that if you speed through a green light, you will be ticketed, Bailey said.

Sgt. Tim Beam, another speaker at the event, said traffic laws still apply at green lights.

“Just because you have a green light, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention,” he said.

The purpose of photo radar is to reduce crashes, deaths and injuries, so think of your choices before making them, Beam said.

Drivers who speed through intersections are most likely to cause an accident then a driver that is speeding over 45mph in a residential area. TPD says the fine for running a red light is higher than a ticket for speeding.

If an intersection camera doesn’t do enough of the job, TPD has posted several unit vans around the city to also catch speeders.

A unit van can be posted at a location for up to three hours. TPD finds that in terms of cost, setting up a van along the side of the road is cheaper than intersection cameras.

Cameras are installed at certain intersections due to the heavy flow of traffic, not necessarily because of the number of accidents that have occurred there.

Three levels of review that are conducted before a ticket is issued from an intersection camera.

The photo is first sent to Scottsdale to American Traffic Solutions for review. ATS checks if the picture quality is good, and sends it to TPD.

TPD looks at video and pictures for violations, plus checks the vehicle registration and whether or not the driver’s license has expired.

Two officers are assigned to review violations. It takes approximately 30 days to receive a ticket in the mail from the time a violation occurred.

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