New speed cameras enrage Arizona drivers

An attempt to introduce UK-style fixed speed cameras in America has ended in a public revolt, with motorists binning speeding tickets worth $90 million (£60 million).

Many Americans regard the speed cameras as an unconstitutional tax collection method and have flatly refused to pay the fines

The Arizona scheme, which was the first statewide effort to bring speed camera enforcement to the US, is now on the verge of bankruptcy and could be dumped.

Many Americans, including judges and elected officials, regard the devices as an unconstitutional tax collection method and have flatly refused to pay the fines, the Times reports.

“I see all the cameras in Arizona completely coming down,” Shawn Dow, who is leading the public revolt via his chairmanship of Arizona Citizens Against Photo Radar, told the paper. “The citizens of Arizona took away the cash cow of Arizona by refusing to pay.” He is now trying to get the cameras banned in November’s elections.

Although about 700,000 tickets have been issued since Arizona’s 76-camera plan was rolled out last year, a mere $37 million of the $127 million in fines and surcharges has been collected. That is because Arizonans have realized that they can simply ignore tickets sent to them in the post, and the authorities cannot prove that they have received them. Unless the tickets are served in person something Arizona cannot afford to do they become void after three months.

Motorists have shown their opposition to the machines in other ways, placing large cardboard boxes over them, decorating them with sticky notes, attacking them with pickaxes and, in one case, setting off the cameras while standing in front wearing a monkey mask.

The company hired to install Arizona’s cameras, Redflex Holdings, is under financial pressure, because it invested $16 million upfront in the equipment. But it says it is persevering. “Redflex is in this for the long haul,” it said.

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