Local

Apr 8, 2014 1:31 AM by Sean Mooney

Tucson drivers get a break from traffic cams at River and Oracle

TUCSON - Tucson's intersection at Oracle and River is one of the most reviled lights in the City of Tucson.

Traffic cameras cover the entire intersection capturing driver's mistakes behind the wheel. But what most drivers who travel through the intersection don't know, is that the cameras at the light have been turned off. However, the respite is only a tap on the brakes.

The cameras were turned off April 1st because Oracle Road is considered a state highway, also known as Route 77.

The commander of the Tucson Police Department's Traffic Enforcement Division, Bob Shoun, says because Oracle is a highway a special insurance permit is required from ADOT for the city to use traffic cams at the intersection. "Our permit was valid from September 2013 to September 2014, however there was a permit from our vendor that expired April 1st, 2014, pending a current insurance certificate from our vendor."

That vendor, the company that actually operates the cameras, is American Traffic Solutions. ATS issued a statement saying, "An ADOT required insurance certificate from one of our subcontractors recently lapsed. The coverage has been renewed and the certificate has been resubmitted to ADOT. Once approved, the camera will be reactivated."

ATS expects to have the system back on line within two weeks.

But there is a little known fact about the intersection that could make the ride through it a little less anxiety ridden. It has to do with the true lines of the intersection, which are determined by the curb lines. On River Road the intersection line is yards beyond the cross walk. Most drivers stop at the cross walk line but it is completely legal to drive a vehicle right up to the curb line beyond the sidewalk before making a turn or proceeding through the intersection.

Despite the advice motorists, like David Ahumuda, say they would still like the to see the cameras go away, "Everybody's afraid of getting a ticket, so I don't think it's a good system."

But Cpt. Shoun says, that fear is working, "These cameras have an effect on driver behavior, the number of collisions at these intersections has dramatically reduced over the years, so from our perspective these cameras are a safety initiative that are worth continuing."

TPD is not involved in the process of tracking down offenders. If the fine is not paid, American Traffic Solutions must have a processor serve the motorist. If that doesn't happen within 60 days of the citation the ticket is no longer valid.

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