Pima County Propaganda

Pima County has issued their latest propaganda to convince the public that the scameras are working. But a closer look shows that the picture is not as rosy as it seems.

As is typical with photo enforcement press releases, all credit is given to photo enforcement and all other factors are ignored. Forget about the new draconian DUI laws, stricter teen driving regulations, and overall fewer vehicle miles and lower road densities due to the economy. All credit goes to the cameras.

But if we look at the data, we notice that of all 10 camera locations, accidents only decreased at four of the two locations, with accidents increasing at 3 locations and remaining pretty much the same at 3 locations. At the Nogales highway location, accidents rocketed from 21 to 35, and at the Ruthraufe/Wetmore location accidents plummeted from 94 to 40. Such a drastic change (both up and down) should prompt an explanation as the numbers for those locations are out of line with the rest of the locations, but none is given. If we throw out those locations, accidents are down a statistically meaningless 2% from the first half 2009 (without cameras) to the second half (with cameras) – well within the natural variation from any 6 month period to the next.

Results on speed reduction were also mixed. Results for 4 locations were summarized:
1) Ina Rd., east of 1″ Ave., % mile east of PEC: both the 85th percentile speed and the “citable” speeds are continuing to drop significantly for the latest “after” period.
2) Valencia Rd., east of Cam. de Oeste, 1 mile/+ west of PEC: no real difference in the latest “after” period for the 85th percentile speed, but some continuing reduction in the “citable” speeds.
3) 1″ Ave., south of Rudasill (no PEC on this corridor, but in the vicinity of the h a PEC): a small reduction in the 85th percentile speed from the “before” period to the latest “after” period. Continuing reduction in the “citable” speeds.
4) Craycroft Rd., south of River (no PEC on this corridor, but in the vicinity of the Swan PEC): No measureable difference in either the 85th percentile speed or the “citable” speed from the “before” period to the “after” period.

The results don’t seem very convincing. If anything, it indicates that the speed limits are probably set too low or that other measures are needed, especially if you believe ADOT’s page on setting speed limits.

Overall, it’s clear that the media has failed to take an honest, objective look at the information given to them and that they have not asked any questions. At best, the results are mixed. It’s a shame that the media doesn’t have enough wherewithal to question the statements furnished by leaders. Clearly factors other than photo enforcement play into the road safety data, yet the report and the press release make no mention of this. Who are they trying to fool?

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