Another misuse of cameras in lieu of safety engineering

The latest speed camera article in the Arizona Republic is a classic case of blaming the people when the roadway design is clearly the culprit. The article highlights a particularly problematic intersection in Tempe, AZ where the speed limit is set lower than usual for an arterial street. Most similar roads would be 40 or 45mph, but this one is 35mph.

For engineers, the goal is usually to design a system, in this case an intersection or roadway, to be as inherently safe as possible so that people are naturally safe while using it. For example, if people are driving too fast down a residential street, the installation of speed bumps will naturally slow the traffic down. Additional measures can include visibility, spacing, setbacks, signage, and traffic controls.

If an intersection is seeing this volume of people “misbehaving,” it’s not because the people in that area are outlaws and criminals. The reason is that there is a serious design issue with the roadway and/or intersection that needs to be addressed. Sending fines to people will do not fix this problem. The City of Tempe needs to direct its engineers to get out there and FIX this problem!

Also, those already familiar with this site (webpage) already know that cameras actually INCREASE the number of accidents at an intersection. It’s curious how they don’t have data yet, but if it’s like every other installation in the US, there will now be more accidents. It’s always about revenue, NOT safety.

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