10/16/2007Colorado Legislator Pushes for Freeway Speed Cameras
Freeway speed camera concept spreads to Colorado.
The Colorado General Assembly is considering giving the state authority to issue speed camera tickets on freeways. The state House Transportation Legislation Review Committee approved draft ticketing legislation last Thursday, with committee Chairman Buffie McFadyen (D-Pueblo West) agreeing to become the bill's prime sponsor.
The bill would allow state police to contract with private companies to issue tickets in highway work zones up to four hours before any workers arrive. The speed limit in these areas would be lowered and the fines doubled. McFadyen would formally introduce the bill, dubbed the "Charles Mather Safety Act," for consideration in the 2008 legislative session.
Several states have jumped at the chance to equal the success of the freeway photo radar program in Scottsdale, Arizona where $17 million in tickets were issued in 2006. Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano (D) in June took over the project and ordered its expandsion to cover every freeway in the state. Illinois likewise began automated ticketing in 2006, collecting tickets worth between $375 and $1000 each. Effective January 8, Oregon Department of Transportation will have the authority to begin its own freeway speed camera project. Wyoming came close to adopting legislation authorizing automated ticketing machines on freeways. The House of Representatives passed authorizing legislation by a 38-22 vote, but the bill stalled in the state Senate.
Although McFadyen and officials in Illinois have suggested the "work zone" freeway speed camera programs are intended to protect construction workers, evidence shows that only 15 percent of freeway construction zone injuries are caused by automobiles. A far greater number of workers are injured by construction equipment. A city-funded study of the Scottsdale freeway cameras documented a 54 percent increase in rear-end collisions and a 9 percent increase in injuries from rear-end collisions as motorists slammed on their brakes approaching the devices.
The full text of the draft Colorado legislation is available in a 96k PDF file at the source link below.