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"Arizona communities should put public safety ahead of profits when deciding whether to install traffic cameras through private companies, a public interest group contends in a report released Thursday.
By leaving public safety in the hands of for–profit companies, municipalities forfeit control over which cameras are necessary for safety and which are being used for profit, according to the report released by the Arizona Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.
“It is a real problem,” said Serena Unrein, a spokeswoman for Arizona PIRG. “Too often cities have wrongly signed away their power to ensure the safety of citizens on the road, and the traffic ticketing ends up being governed by contracts that focus on profits rather than safety.”
Traffic cameras, often placed at intersections and school zones to catch speeders or red–light runners, have been installed in 21 jurisdictions across Arizona, according to the report.
Two companies provide more than 80 percent of cameras in the U.S., the report said: American Traffic Solutions, located in Scottsdale, and Redflex Traffic Systems, a division of the Australian Redflex Holdings Limited.
While Unrein said Arizona PIRG doesn’t take an official position on use of traffic camera programs, the report recommended that communities consider other options that may still leave public safety in the hands of cities, such as increasing the duration of yellow lights. She said towns must also proceed with caution when considering private traffic enforcement programs.
“Cities have to make sure that they identify potential pitfalls before they enter into any contracts with camera vendors,” Unrein said."
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