AZ: Traffic Laws for Arresting Immigrants, not Ticketing Speeders

Arizona is reversing on highway safety. At midnight, speed cameras on the state’s freeways went off, the Arizona Republic reports.

We all hate these cameras when we get caught. But we know why they’re there. Just drive up the state’s many gorgeous and winding mountains. Cars break the 75-mile per hour limit – even to turn a curve, or when passing by a construction site.

The National Transportation Safety Board, the bodyguard of America’s transit, has pointed out for decades that high speeds can result in death. Shocker. Here’s one of many studies, in case you want details.

The Daily Show’s Olivia Munn just did a hysterical interview with AZ State Rep Carl Seel about it. He supports SB 1070. (For anyone who hasn’t read the news this year, that’s the controversial law requiring police to arrest anyone who they suspect doesn’t have immigration papers.)

But Seel draws the line with speed cameras. They are the eyes of Big Brother, invading our privacy.

Munn crinkled her brow, “So speeding is probable cause to check immigration status. But speeding is not probable cause to give you a ticket for…speeding?”


Arizona’s hurting for money, so it can’t afford to put cops on the highways to replace the cameras. Hopefully it can afford the stationary that officers use to write up accidents after people have gotten hurt.

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One Response to “AZ: Traffic Laws for Arresting Immigrants, not Ticketing Speeders”

  1. Mel Gemmel says:

    I have heard that many of those cameras will now be used in the cities instead – especially here in Tucson. I wish those cameras could do something other than just clicking photos of cars breaking the local traffic laws. Arizona law requires that all complaints, including traffic tickets, be personally served. Our appellate court has thrown out cases where a photo radar ticket was mailed. The courts have no power to assess fines or sanctions unless the complaint was personally served or service was waived. In other words, a ticket is just like a lawsuit. It has to be served the same as if it were a personal injury suit, breach of contract suit, or any other lawsuit — by someone actually handing you the summons.

    So, looking again at that ticket that came in the mail, if the driver signs and returns it, the driver is waiving the legal requirement that the city serve the complaint personally. What about that duty to cooperate? No, you are not required to waive your rights to due process just in the name of cooperation. And if the city or county fails to personally serve you, you cannot be fined.

    Arizona law requires that the State prove the driver’s speed was unreasonable under the circumstances, conditions and actual and potential hazards then existing. I wonder how a camera can do that. And it appears that no one in the court room can prove it either. However, there is one problem with showing up to fight a ticket which was mailed to you — you are assumed to have admitted to being the driver by just appearing in court to fight the ticket! If you hired a lawyer to appear for you the case would be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. There would be no proof you were driving because the State’s witness from the camera manufacturer does not have a driver’s license photograph of anyone. By showing up, you have proved it for them.

    Ignorance of the laws can be very costly! Stand up to camera tickets by not waiving any of your rights as a resident of Arizona, and feel comfortable doing so since the odds of personal service are quite low, and they still must prove you were there and breaking the law. Spend that fine on a lawyer instead!