Some Say Photo Radar Is Mainly About Revenue, Not Safety
DENVER (CBS4) – CBS4 has asked for and received lists of where drivers are most likely to receive a speeding ticket. In Denver and some other locations it is most commonly delivered courtesy of photo radar, while other locations rely on more traditional means.
CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger took a look at the figures and the maps and found where drivers are most likely to get caught.
Most people call them speed traps, but police prefer to refer to it as “traffic safety.” In the city of Denver there were approximately 119,000 violations last year in just five locations.
In a flash the city of Denver is bringing in up to $7 million a year through photo radar. Sallinger found 56,274 violations were photographed with few smiles last year along Santa Fe Boulevard in the work zone near Interstate 25. That was by far the most active spot.
Mike Zink was one of the unlucky drivers. He was fined $80 for being in a 25 mile per hour zone while doing 35.
“I don’t think there’s any way that I could have been down to 25 from a 45 in the amount of time that they gave me to do this,” Zink said. “I would call it a speed trap, it’s just revenue generation.”
The cameras were brought in on Santa Fe after a sharp rise in accidents with the area under construction.
“There have been horrendous crashes in these work zones,” Sgt. Ron Johns with Denver police said.
Second on the list is East 17th Avenue near Monroe Street. The third is along 1st Avenue where Sallinger found one of the city’s four photo radar vans busy just west of the Cherry Creek Mall. The fourth is South University Boulevard at Harvard Street with more than 13,000 speeders detected last year. That’s followed by South Colorado Boulevard near Dartmouth.
“I think it’s been highly successful over the years in terms of reducing the speeds of operators in areas that we deploy,” Johns said.
In Jefferson County they give speeding tickets the old fashioned way, with Highway 93, West Bowles Avenue and Easley Way among the most patrolled spots. Within the count there’s the entire town of Morrison, including the major highways that pass through it. In Sheridan there’s Highway 285 between Lowell Street and Federal Boulevard where an officer was severely injured in May by a drunk driver doing 80 miles per hour. In Fort Collins Sallinger found Conifer Street between College and Lemay avenues is the hottest spot.
Jim Hernandez got nailed by Denver photo radar, but got out of a fine when a judge ruled his face wasn’t identifiable. He said if it’s not really about a matter of safety, he just considers it a speed trap.
“I think there’s something wrong with setting speed traps in order to collect revenue from citizens,” Hernandez said.
Just as there are radar detectors, there are now photo radar detectors with GPS technology that will alert drivers when they are approaching.