Speed cameras on freeways across Arizona went dark just before midnight last night, ending the state’s controversial experiment with photo enforcement, reports the Arizona Republic. The short-lived program expired after the state Department of Public Safety decided against renewing its contract with camera vendor Redflex Traffic Systems. Gov. Jan Brewer had signaled that she planned to bring the cameras down.
From the beginning, photo cameras had been heavily criticized as a government money-making scheme that did not enhance public safety. The program incited vandalism of cameras and the fatal shooting of a Redflex technician. Supporters point to studies suggesting photo enforcement reduces crashes and saves lives. With the cameras gone, Redflex is warning that speeding will spike to dangerous levels. “This should be a wake-up call to everyone in the community to be even more careful and watch for a large increase in aggressive, dangerous driving,” said a spokeswoman for Redflex, which has its U.S. headquarters in Phoenix.