Many factors have been cited as reasons why the number of collisions has decreased from the early 1990s to the present: introduction of the third brake light, safer roads, the increasing prevalence of accident avoidance technology, etc. But now at least one state is claiming that crime-fighting cameras located on busy interstates are also helping to curb collisions.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) has employed crime-fighting cameras in an effort to cut down the number of collisions on interstates and save lives. During an eight-hour period on Nov. 26, 42 mobile photo enforcement cameras participated in what the DPS dubbed “Operation Border to Border,” in which traffic cameras caught a total of 436 violations.
The mobile units were spread out across the state about 20 miles apart along two busy interstates from border to border. During the operation, two collisions, one involving injuries, took place. During that same period last year, there were 29 reported collisions along the same stretches of highway, three with injuries, the DPS reported.
“Photo enforcement does not replace the highway patrol officer. It cannot pull over impaired drivers or aggressive drivers or distracted drivers,” said Roger Vanderpool, DPS director. “It can help slow people down and that goes a long way toward preventing serious injury or even fatal collisions."
The DPS began implementing an expanded photo enforcement program in September, per the Arizona legislature. As of Feb. 1, 2009, the state will have 60 stationary cameras installed on its roadways and 40 mobile traffic cameras in use. Since the photo enforcement program’s expansion began this year, 40,401 violation notices have been issued, the DPS said. The highest speed caught by one of the cameras was 130 mph.
DPS spokesman Harold Sanders said similar cameras are used by some Arizona municipalities, and the technology isn’t exclusive to Arizona.
“They’re in use in probably 11 or 12 different states,” Sanders said.