By on April 13, 2010

Although independent studies have shown a link between the use of photo enforcement equipment and a statistically significant increase in the number of collisions, opponents of photo radar have produced few concrete examples of these incidents. In Arizona, the group has begun using freedom of information laws to get its hands on examples of accidents that would not have happened but for the presence of a speed camera van (view studies).

At around March 17th at about 4 p.m. a gray 2005 Ford SUV was driving on State Route 202 passing through the city of Gilbert. Traffic was light on the six-lane, 65 MPH freeway on a clear and bright day. When the 32-year-old Ford driver saw a speed camera van up ahead, he slammed on his brakes and slowed to just 35 MPH — a common reaction near cameras as drivers seek to avoid receiving an expensive citation in the mail.

At the same time, a 22-year-old in a red 2008 Pontiac G6 was following behind without speeding, according to police estimates. The Pontiac driver briefly looked away from the car in front of her so that she could change lanes to the right. She did not expect the car ahead to suddenly scrub drop its speed by 30 MPH. As a result, the two cars collided just a few yards from a Redflex speed camera van.

Such incidents are quite common. A 2007 study by Arizona State University concluded that there was a 54-percent increase in rear-end collisions and a 9-percent increase in injuries from rear-end collision on the Loop 101 freeway during the state’s first experiment with automated freeway ticketing. The study’s author, paid by the city of Scottsdale, dismissed the significance of this finding by saying, “Increases in rear-end crashes are traded for reductions in other crash types.”

According to a comprehensive British Medical Journal study published in 2006, that trade-off may not actually be worth making. The report found that police claims of a safety benefit from the use of speed cameras turned out to be false. To the contrary, an examination of actual hospital records showed an increase in the number of patients admitted from road accidents following the widespread introduction of automated ticketing machines in England (view study).

A copy of the accident report obtained by CameraFraud is available in a 400k PDF file at the link below.

Source: PDF File Crash Report 2010-013387 (Arizona Department of Public Safety, 3/24/2010)


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23 Comments on “Arizona: Police Report Shows Speed Camera Caused Accident...”

  • avatar

    There is a reason why engineers cite the 85% rule for traffic speed limits. And why revenue generation via traffic law is a bad idea. Oh, your latest county red light camera scam:

    My wondrous state of WA is on another speed law scoflaw jag, because we have totally cleaned up the meth problems in our state, and our law enforcement officers have nothing to do….

  • avatar

    “According to a comprehensive British Medical Journal study published in 2006, that trade-off may not actually be worth making. The report found that police claims of a safety benefit from the use of speed cameras turned out to be false. To the contrary, an examination of actual hospital records showed an increase in the number of patients admitted from road accidents following the widespread introduction of automated ticketing machines in England”

    Government’s officials have become so addict to the easy money these cameras provide that the body count is garbage. They’ll get a study that says the contrary, no matter what proof says and will continue with the Big Brother.

    Pressure will have to be so high so they remove them.

    I ask, why people don’t request a referendum on them? open question for any country.

  • avatar

    This should be glaringly obvious to anyone who has studied the statistics. Speed is not nearly a large a factor in accidents as difference in speed and change of speed. Install a camera that some people can detect and you have a case of speed change and huge differences of speed between those that react and those that don’t. To be fair, the same would be true with any traffic speed enforcement…manned or unmanned.

    The obvious safe solution is to only enforce speed limits where they are a known problem, for example, in construction areas and neighborhoods where some people fly down streets at double the speed limit.

    Littering the highways with speed traps will not only cause more accidents on the highways, but move people off the otherwise safe highways to side streets where there isn’t enforcement…increasing accidents and fatalities there.

    P.S. Don’t you hate it when you pass a patrol car on the side of the road and everyone brakes to 10-15mph under the limit!

  • avatar

    that’s like asking for a referendum on increased taxes

    of course the vast majority of people don’t want cameras

    in countries outside of the US, significant money is spend on advertising and even subverting university research so that there are a large porportion of the community who approve of speed cameras

    because people are stupid and easily lead by fear

  • avatar

    The speed limit was 65 but the nimrod in the SUV dropped to 35 because he saw a camera van? Too bad the nimrod isn’t being held responsible for this accident.

    I’ll admit that I reflexively tap my brakes when I see a cop but I don’t drop 30mph below the posted speed in doing so.

  • avatar

    It would be interesting to see who is faulted for the accident. Was the Pontiac driver blamed automatically since this was a rear-end collision? Or was the idiot, panicky Ford driver faulted for irresponsibly slamming on his brakes to 30MPH under the posted speed limit on a major highway? My opinion is that if the Ford driver wasn’t in excess of the limit, why did they slam on their brakes?

    Another question…..what’s wrong with speed limits and abiding by them? Rules are what makes a society function smoothly. With a very few exceptions, speed limits are set at a safe level for the road and typical traffic conditions. Are you really that much more important than the next guy that you have to drive in excess of the posted limit to get to your destination 5 minutes ealier?

    • 0 avatar

      I would say the Ford was at fault. The most dangerous thing to do on the highway is hit the brakes.

      Not all speed limits are set at a safe level. Some are set deliberately low for revenue generation. Please read up on safe speed limits:

      If I could cut my daily commute time by 5 minutes each way I would save 43 hours a year. Not insignificant. Also, just 5 mph extra over a long trip can save a significant amount of time. You’ll save 20 minutes of time every 350 miles at 75 mph versus 70 mph.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t see how a speed camera van would cause this accident over a standard police car sitting there taking radar. You have an idiot slamming on his brakes b/c he’ll get caught speeding. Should we ban all cop cars b/c I’d bet he would have done the same thing.

      The 2nd driver who wasn’t speeding wasn’t paying attention and hit a slower moving car. What if there was no photo van in the first place and a deer was on the road ahead and the driver was slowing down to avoid it? Should we ban all wildlife too?

      Here common sense would have won out. If you don’t want to get caught speeding…then don’t do it. If you get caught speeding…you were speeding so you are guilty and no one else’ fault except your own. Man / Woman up and live with the consequences of your actions. If you are driving a car – pay attention to where you are going so you don’t crash into the back of an idiot doing 30 mph in a 65 mph zone.

    • 0 avatar

      swaq – “If I could cut my daily commute time by 5 minutes each way I would save 43 hours a year. Not insignificant. Also, just 5 mph extra over a long trip can save a significant amount of time. You’ll save 20 minutes of time every 350 miles at 75 mph versus 70 mph.”

      Then why not drive at 80 and save another 20 minutes? Or 85? Or 90? Do you trust the idiot in the lane next to you to know the limits of his driving ability?

      If we want to discuss saving on commute time, then we should be discussing traffic flowing at consistent speed with little interruption. If traffic lights on my commute were timed for consistent flow I would save much more time and gas. Instead, it is one stop after another. Though it is funny to watch the idiots floor it from stoplight to stoplight.

    • 0 avatar

      I would say both drivers are at fault.

      The guy in the truck should be cited for improper braking/stopping or whatever they call this in Arizona. He did not have a legitimate reason for such a drastic reduction in speed and by doing so he created a hazzard for other drivers.

      The girl in the car should be cited for careless driving or distracted driving because she obviously wasn’t paying enough attention to the traffic in front of her.

      It always amuses me to see people hit the brakes whenever they see a police car. By the time you see the cop and react he has already seen you and had the opportunity to clock your speed. If you are speeding and the cop sees you hit the brakes, he will take this as an admission of guilt.

    • 0 avatar

      1996MEdition, sure, it’s a slippery slope, but there is a sweet spot that is both safe and time efficient (85th percentile) which is what the speed limits should be set at, but aren’t. Here in Arizona the limit on the highway is 75 mph and most people do 80-90 mph. It’s perfectly safe out in the desert where the roads are dead straight and you can see for a mile. Realistically the speed limit should be 80 or 85 mph.

      I completely agree with timing traffic lights. It would save fuel, time, and reduce frustration. There’s one road in town here I’ll often hit five red lights in a row even when there’s hardly any other traffic!

  • avatar

    Where do you have a 65 mph freeway with traffic lights? In TX, when a freeway ends, you will see signs saying the freeway is ending, the speed limit signs with lower speeds are present well before you get to a traffic light. A 65 mph stop light seems like a bad idea.

    • 0 avatar

      I drove to Houston via Texarcana a month or so ago, and I remember very distinctly the oddness of several signals in a 70 zone.

      Sure there was signage, but it didn’t always ratchet down from 70 to 50.

    • 0 avatar

      I know of a couple of 65mph roads in North Fort Worth and Grapevine Texas that have stoplights….

      I have seen several 60+ roads in West Texas that also had a stop light without a speed limit reduction. They just have a long yellow light.

  • avatar

    As long as proponents can find or commission a study that shows the cameras save more lives than they cost they will win. With the kind money at stake here this is going be one hell of a battle.

  • avatar

    Yeah, maybe to 55, but 35? What?!?!


  • avatar

    Don’t kid yourself, speed camera’s have always been about extra revenue – not road safety. Any government types who claim otherwise either have their head wedged up their own posterior or are bullsh*tting.

    • 0 avatar

      So do cops taking radar (they are really there to make revenue). What is the difference from a cop writing you a speeding ticket for doing 20 over the speed limit than a picture ticket in the mail for the same thing? The photo radar does it 24 x 7 and costs significantly less over time than a salaried cop who can then be doing more important things than sitting in the car. I’d rather him be patrolling not for speeders but for the real slime.

  • avatar

    IT is time to Ban the CAMERAS!

    You gotta love how the camera side has to manufacture reports claiming the cameras work like that 2007 Iowa report that didn’t even use before or after crash data on one town.


    Here is a link to 6 towns in 3 states where PETITION DRIVES ARE ACTIVE TO ALLOW A VOTE TO BAN PHOTO ENFORCEMENT!

  • avatar



    go check out:

    Also check facebook, there are a number of sites there opposed to RLC.

  • avatar

    It doesn’t even take a speed cam to cause this kind of thing here in the Toledo area. On I475/US23, there is a straight shot of roadway that has a slight hill, nothing much, but it makes what’s on the other side invisible until you’re at the top of it. Several times recently, I’ve been on the hill, behind cars and trucks, and everything is fine, until the car or truck ahead of me hits the top of that hill and sees an OSP car writing someone up, or maybe just assisting a broken down vehicle, and slams on the brakes for absolutely no reason whatsoever. They weren’t speeding at all!

    The first scary incident I was involved with was when, on a nice sunny day, the guy in front of me slammed his brakes on when he saw two OSP cars helping an ancient Chevy truck that had the rear end collapse from it being insanely overloaded. With the sun so bright, I almost didn’t see his brake lights in time, and I got very close to the back end of the idiot who slammed his brakes on.

    The scariest one was when some guy in a BMW was behind some family in a Caravan in the right lane. I was in the left, thinking I was clear of any problems, since no one was in front of me for at least a half mile. The BMW passed me on the right, and was going to come over into my lane to pass the caravan when the Caravan hit the top of the hill, and saw the OSP car sitting about an eighth of a mile ahead on the right shoulder helping change a tire on an old lady’s car. The caravan driver slammed on the brakes, and the BMW driver suddenly closed up and nearly hit the back of the caravan, then shot into my lane, overcorrected several times and came very close to going off the road into one of the water and cattail filled swampy ditches that run along the East side of the road. He finally ended up back behind the caravan, and was very angry. At the next exit, he got out of his car at the light, and yelled at the driver of the caravan, who didn’t seem to have any idea what he had almost caused.

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