Colorado Looks to Double Speed Camera Revenue

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
colorado looks to double speed camera revenue

With municipal budgets tight across the state of Colorado, members of the General Assembly are looking to offer relief. The Colorado state Senate Transportation Committee voted 4-3 on Thursday to boost the cost of a speed camera ticket from $40 to $75. The measure, Senate Bill 143, also extends the reach of photo ticketing to include nearly any road that runs through the state.

Last May, the state authorized the use of freeway photo radar which allows the placement of automated ticketing machines on high-speed roads by erecting a sign that says “work zone.” The bill introduced by Colorado state Senator Bob Bacon covers most of the remaining roads within the state by allowing photo ticketing on any road with a speed limit of 50 mph or less. Combined with the higher fees, the revised program is expected to generate millions in additional revenue. The Senate committee voted to direct this money into funding accounts labeled “traffic safety.” The bill must now be considered by the full Senate.

Although the legislature is targeting vehicles traveling through work zones, studies show that such laws do nothing to protect actual workers. Work zone fatalities are caused far more often by construction equipment than automobiles. A number of attempts to increase ticketing in the state have also created problems. A Fort Collins speed camera falsely accused a gardener’s truck which, when new, had a top speed of just 99 MPH of blasting through a 30 MPH zone at 132 MPH. Colorado Springs police officers were caught falsifying records in order to meet a ticket quota.

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  • Iamwho2k Iamwho2k on Feb 17, 2009
    The bill introduced by Colorado state Senator Bob Bacon Tell me his name isn't a joke.

  • Minion444 Minion444 on Feb 17, 2009

    Where is Hunter S. when you need him and his arsenal.....

  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Feb 18, 2009

    If this passes the Colorado senate I will avoid driving through that state.

  • Ricky_Lee Ricky_Lee on Feb 19, 2009

    Drivers who don't follow those basic rules will have more to worry about in the city of Boulder next year. The city plans to expand its photo-radar and red-light photo programs, both of which issue "tickets" - see below - to drivers via automated devices. The city now operates six red-light cameras, which snap photos of vehicles and drivers that run red lights, and plans to add two more in 2007. The city also plans to double its fleet of photo-radar vans, from one to two. Traffic planners say red-light photo devices have reduced violations at relevant intersections by an impressive 57 percent (based on 2002 figures, the most recent available). But they also acknowledge that they also tend to increase rear-end collisions. We're all for anything that helps reduce dangerous driving (though some strategies, such as traffic circles, are themselves rather dangerous and poorly understood by most drivers). But in the interest of full disclosure, here are a few things Boulder drivers might want to know about what the Legislature calls "automated vehicle identification devices." The "ticket" you receive in the mail is anything but. It is merely a request that you pay up. Suggestions you may receive by phone to pick up an unspecified document at the police department are just that, requests. To prosecute a photo violation, state and local law requires that you actually be served - in person, by a "peace officer" - with a ticket within 90 days. And even if requested to do so, you are not required to pick it up. If you are personally served with a ticket, you have the right to go to court, just as with any other alleged offense. However, if you go to court and are found guilty, a judge can add $60 to the maximum $75 fine allowed under state law. Any offenses detected by automated devices cannot, by law, be reported to the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles. Violations - even if you are found guilty in court - will not appear on your record; no "points." And should your vehicle be detected by a device when you are not driving, you do not have to snitch on who's behind the wheel. But you can be required to demonstrate that the driver is not you. Few drivers know the particulars of photo violations; most just send in the fine. If more were aware, it might reduce revenue generated by the program, while still causing alleged violators to think twice before driving dangerously on city streets. And that's OK. The goal, we presume, is increased safety, not "revenue enhancement." The city doesn't go out of its way to let citizens know about any of this. But a squeamish Legislature put strict limits on automated devices when it considered the issue back in 1999. We're glad they did. "Little Brother is Watching You" strategies are becoming more common. But as more of our lives are eyeballed by remote technological devices, it's nice to know that we humans still have a say in all this. Drive safely, and know your rights. © 2006 Daily Camera and Boulder Publishing, LLC.