Frequently Asked Questions About Traffic Enforcement in Show Low
Here you will find some of the most frequently asked questions about red light and speed camera enforcement along with the exact locations of all fixed system photo enforcement equipment.
Proposed Fixed Speed System Locations
Proposed Intersection System Locations
What is a red light violation?
A red light violation occurs when a vehicle crosses the legal violation point and proceeds through the intersection after the traffic light has turned red. It is not a violation if the vehicle has entered the intersection prior to the signal turning red (such as to complete a left hand turn)
In Arizona, the point of violation is defined as the “Prolongation” of the Curb Line. Simply stated this is a line from the curb face on one side of the street to the curb face on the opposite side of the street. If a vehicle crosses this point after the traffic control light has turned red, they are in violation of running the red light. On right turns on red signal, the vehicle must make a complete and discernable stop, prior to the point of violation, and then may proceed through when traffic has cleared and it is safe to do so.
How does Photo Enforcement work?
Each intersection is outfitted with several high resolution high speed digital cameras. The cameras are activated by sensors which are located at the intersection and are only activated when a moving vehicle is detected by the sensors after the light has turned red. The cameras take two or more digital photos which document the violation and are mailed with a citation to the registered owner of the vehicle. The program operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and operates in all weather conditions. The system is only activated when a vehicle runs a red light. Sworn Officers of the Show Low Police Department review every violation before the citation is issued. Citations contain images of the violation vehicle before it enters the intersection, while the vehicle is in the intersection, the vehicle license plate and an image of the driver.
Are red light cameras effective?
Yes. Red light cameras have been proven to be effective in reducing red light violations and right-angle crashes. Cities using these systems consistently report safer roads with fewer intersection collisions.
Is it better/safer to make the yellow signal longer, and thereby save lives without using photo enforcement?
No. A 2004 study of lengthening yellow intervals by the Texas Transportation Institute found that while the number of red light violations did decrease initially, drivers quickly began to adjust their driving habits. The study concluded that consistent enforcement was the most effective way to reduce intentional red light violations.
If I am already in the intersection when the light turns red, will I get a citation?
No. Citations are only issued when a vehicle enters the intersection AFTER the light has turned red. If you enter the intersection on a green or yellow light you will not be photographed by the photo enforcement camera system.
How do the speed cameras work?
Mobile Speed Vans: The Show Low Police Department has contracted with Redflex Traffic Systems, of Phoenix, AZ., to deploy a mobile speed van in the City. Currently, the van is staffed and deployed by a Redflex employee. The vans are set up with a sophisticated RADAR unit that monitors vehicle speeds as traffic approaches and passes the van. If a vehicle is exceeding the ‘enforcement’ speed, the RADAR unit signals the cameras to take a picture of the violating vehicle as it approaches the enforcement van and a second image as it goes past the van. These images document the driver, vehicle and license plate of the violating vehicle.
Intersection Speed Cameras: Show Low will also be implementing intersection speed enforcement cameras. The intersection speed cameras are the same units that record red light violations. However, they are specially programmed to also register the speed of a vehicle as it enters the intersection. If the speed of the vehicle is over the ‘enforcement’ speed, the cameras will activate and record the speed violation. A citation will then be generated for the speeding violation in the same manner that the red light citations are generated.
How and How often is a fixed speed detection system calibrated and checked for accuracy?
Detection system accuracy is established at the time of installation by comparing the speed indicated by the system with a calibrated detection device. The system is configured to an accuracy of +/- 1 MPH of the calibrated detection device reading. The term "calibration" is often used inappropriately in this situation. There are no adjustments made once the initial setup is accomplished, and the only way to change the way the system detects vehicle speed is by changing one of the two constants involved (the distance between the two sensors, and/or the way time is measured by the computer).
A variety of devices are used to verify accuracy and include but are not limited to:
· Vehicle speed test and verification
· Radar detection systems
· Certified speedometers
· Laser speed detection systems
Redflex, the Show Low photo radar vendor, conducts verification of system accuracy monthly for each speed certified location to ensure proper equipment operation. The routine inspections referenced are also conducted when maintenance repairs are performed. In order to put a repaired system back in operation, a systems check is performed, and if the indications of improper speed exist, a speed verification check is performed as part of that inspection. These indications include but are not limited to:
· Visible damage to the sensors
· Excessive detection "abortions" due to failed speed tolerance checks
(The system performs a speed tolerance test for each detection and ensures the speeds entering and exiting the detection zone are consistent or the detection aborts the processing of the detection as a violation.)
Speed verification checks are performed as a result of the following activities:
· Initial installation and commissioning
· Sensor replacement
· Sensor cabling or connector replacement
· Detection system (Redflex proprietary SDCM) replacement
· During routine inspections for proper system operation
If the vendor is conducting the accuracy checks, could they manipulate the system to make more money?
The City of Show is committed to the highest level of accuracy and accountability with respect to photo enforcement. With this in mind, we have designated the Traffic Sergeant as our contract administrator. One of his duties is to monitor the enforcement trends at each site. Should those trends change suddenly, this may be cause for alarm and would be investigated to ensure system accuracy. In addition to this routine trend monitoring, police officers will use calibrated instruments to verify that the system is functioning properly.
How does the City of Show Low determine speed limits?
The City of Show Low follows the guidelines set forth in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and the Arizona State Statutes to set speed limits in our city. The State Statutes allow local authorities to determine speed limits on streets under their jurisdiction based on an "engineering and traffic investigation." The MUTCD provides the criteria that are used for the engineering study. The MUTCD states that the speed limit should be within 5 mph of the 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic (the speed at which 85% of the vehicles are traveling at or less than). It also allows us to consider road characteristics, roadside development, parking and pedestrian activity, and crash experience. We do most of our studies based on citizen requests, in areas where the roadside environment is changing due to development, or where we have experienced a higher number of accidents than usual.
Do Photo Enforcement flash units cause collisions?
No. The flash duration is less than 1/2000th of a second. That is shorter than lightning due to weather. The intensity of the flash is no brighter than any camera one might purchase for personal use. The height of the pole, shape of the reflector, and distance to motor vehicles and pedestrians also minimize the effect of the flash.
Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc. has installed over five hundred photo enforcement units to date. In Scottsdale, Arizona alone, over 500,000 photo enforcement incidents have been photographed using flash from 1997 through January 2006. In all that time, there has not been a single reported incident of flash causing a collision. If anything, photo enforcement flash has a positive effect on driver behavior. It provides instant feedback to those who speed or run red lights, and most react by slowing down.
Are license plate sprays and covers that are advertised and sold to prevent photography of plates by photo detection cameras, prohibited by law?
Yes. Arizona law (ARS 28-2354) requires that " A person shall maintain each license plate so it is clearly legible." The sprays and covers themselves are not illegal. The act of illegible display of the plate is.
Are the tickets electronically signed?
Yes. All mailed complaints bear a digital signature, by a Show Low Police Officer.
Who receives the citation?
Citations are mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.
What if the registered owner was not driving the vehicle at the time of the citation?
The owner should read and submit the Affidavit of Non-Responsibility (Option “B”) found on page one of the citation received in the mail, within 30 days of the Issue Date of the Notice of Violation. The owner should submit the name and address of the person responsible for the violation and return it to the address shown on the citation. A clear, enlarged photocopy of the registered owner’s driver’s license MUST accompany the affidavit. If the information is acceptable, the violation will be taken out of the registered owner’s name and a new citation will be issued with the information provided on the affidavit. If the car has been reported stolen at the time of the violation, the owner must submit a copy of the filed police report with a signed Affidavit of Non-Responsibility.
Can I receive citations for other offenses as a result of my red light camera or photo speed citation?
Will intersections that have red light cameras be publicized?
Yes, locations will be announced and listed on the city website.
The daily deployment locations of our Speed Enforcement vans will not be made available at this time due to safety concerns for the employees/operators.
Where do I mail my payment?
Fines on citations will be mailed directly to the Show Low Magistrate Court. The payment coupon will contain the court’s address. The courts will accept payment in a number of ways including on the phone, via US Mail, in person at the court or on line. The citation information you received in the mail contains all necessary information.
Where do I mail my Affidavit of Non-Responsibility?
Sign the front and mail "Section B," which has the notice number on the back, along with a clear copy of your driver's license to the address listed on the coupon.
What if I want to request a hearing or attend Defensive Driving School?
Sign the front of Section "C" and "D" and then, on the back, place a check mark by option C or D. Mail this section as directed on the coupon.
Several attorneys have made the assertion that defendants can argue in court that the mailed tickets are not properly served by a human being and thus invalid. Is the mailing of tickets a legal and valid form of serving the complaint?
Court rules require individuals to cooperate in saving unnecessary costs of service of a summons and traffic complaint. Most citizens accept this obligation and respond to photo enforcement traffic complaints they receive in the mail. If they fail to respond, and a registered process server is required to accomplish service, the court will charge the citizen those extra costs. Within Arizona, the current process service fee is $60.
The reverse side of the traffic complaint provides that if an individual fails to appear as directed, a default judgment may be entered, a civil sanction may be imposed, and the person's driver license may be suspended.
Are steps being taken to ensure that drivers know such action (i.e. suspension of license) is being carried out?
The court notifies the defendant when a default judgment has been entered. The Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) is also notified of the judgment and they may then take action upon the driver's license. MVD's general policy is to notify the individual by mail that their driver's license has been suspended due to court action.
Does the law require notification of name and address changes?
Yes. Arizona law (ARS 28-448) requires licensed drivers and registered owners of vehicles to notify MVD within ten days of name and address changes. A violation of this section is a civil traffic violation.
Are points assessed against my driver's license for photo enforcement convictions?
Yes. In accordance with Arizona Administrative Code R17-4-404, Driver Point System, points are assessed by MVD for each conviction reported to them by the Court. Each red light conviction is assigned two points, and each speed conviction is assigned three points.
Can I avoid points being assessed against my driver's license for photo enforcement convictions by attending Defensive Driving Class?
Yes. If you have not used the Defensive Driving Class (DDC) option in the most recent two years, you can avoid points being assessed against your license. This alternative is fully explained on the options page of each photo enforcement citation.
Where can I get help with my photo safety citation?
The customer service call line can be reached toll free: Monday thru Friday, 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. CALL: (800) 752-4874.