An attempt to ban red light cameras is once again under way in the City of Tucson.

After city officials rejected a petition last year due to the fact a large number of signatures came from non-city residents, Tucson resident John Kromko is leading the charge to gain the support needed to place the issue on a ballot and send it to the voters.

About a month into the effort, Kromko said the petition group, called Traffic Justice, is seeing significant support from city residents.

A former Arizona legislator, Kromko and volunteers began the latest petition on Dec. 13 at the Tucson Street Fair, where they collected 3,672 signatures in three days. 

To date, the group has received close to 6,000 signatures, slightly less than half the 12,700 needed before the petition deadline of July 2015.

The goal, according to Kromko, is to get a quick start out of the gates.

“We have a year and a half to complete this, but we are trying to get this out of the way,” he said. “We want to get this done.”

If enough signatures are collected and the red-light cameras are voted down, the timing would closely follow the Pima County Board of Supervisors’ decision to not renew their contract with American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the private company that owns the camera equipment in both the city and county. 

In the case of the county, 11 speed cameras were consequently turned off and will be removed before February. 

The board’s decision, according to Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, was based on negative public opinion and a cost-revenue comparison. 

The city, however, recently showed support for the cameras by renewing its contract with ATS.

According to a report provided by ATS, the number of collisions in intersections with cameras has been reduced from 188 in 2006 to 74 in 2012, the most recent year with tracking results. 

There are a total of eight red light cameras within the city. The first was installed on Grant and Tanque Verde in 2007, the most recent at 6th Avenue and Ajo Way in 2011. 

The company has more than 300 customers and 3,000 road safety camera systems installed in the United States and Canada. 

The cameras automatically photograph motorists who run red lights or who are traveling more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. Based on information collected by the photograph, additional citations can be given for seatbelt violations or invalid registration or drivers license. 

Not only does Kromko argue safety results haven’t been adequately proven, he adds there are several problems with red light cameras, a main one being lack of fairness.

“The bulk of the money comes from people making left turns who do not intend to break the law,” said Kromko. “If the car in front of you doesn’t floor it, there is no way to avoid a ticket if you get the red light.”

Additionally, Kromko said the “Stop Here” line, which is situated several feet past the intersection’s crosswalk, is misleading.

“The company deliberately worked it out that way so they could trap you in the intersection,” said Kromko, who believes the issue comes down to money. “The company knows once you’re in the intersection, if you miss the light by 100th of a second, you get a ticket. People say ‘If you don’t want a ticket, don’t run a red light,’ but this system makes it harder not to run a red light.”

For reasons like that, Kromko argues people prefer face-to-face enforcement with officers due to the fact they have discretion over whether or not to write a ticket. 

Kromko said he was pleased to see the county strike down speed cameras, and he can only hope to get the same result in the city. 

“This is like Robo-cop,” said Kromko. “Robo-cop is about contracting out law enforcement. That’s exactly what this is. You have a private company running part of the police force. I don’t like profit-motive when it comes to things like this.”

For more information on Traffic Justice, visit

(3) comments

John Flanagan

I believe cameras are not a bad idea in high risk, accident prone intersections. The camera can document incidents where a vehicle goes through a red light at a high rate of speed and causes a collision. The problem is the way red light cameras are used in some instances, recording cars slightly over the lines, generating tickets and points on your license for a needless infraction. I received a ticket once at the intersection of Oracle and River while making a left turn at the arrow southbound.
The vehicle in front of me slowed down, causing my car to be caught in the intersection for a few seconds. Naturally, in this "gotcha" situation, I received my summons in the mail, attended defensive driver school, and paid my two hundred dollars. In some respects, the cameras are good, but in other respects they make you feel big brother is watching your every move. Also, the consequences of an unfair ticket are points and increased premiums.


The petition should succeed and the cameras be taken down.

Red light cameras are a for-profit money grab scam that tickets mostly safe drivers for profits. Drivers who dangerously blow through red lights at least two and more usually five to nine seconds into the red are the ones that cause T-bone crashes. They are rarely affected by a ticket in the mail weeks later. And there are not many such drivers so the ticket revenue is small from this group.

Red light cameras produce profits by ticketing drivers for violations of less than one second, drivers who clear the intersections before the cross traffic arrives AND by ticketing safe slow rolling right on red turns that are involved in no more than 0.06% of all crashes with an injury or fatality. it is all a money grab scam.

Residents of Tucson should sign the petition. Also contact your state legislators to ask for a new law to ban all ticket cameras in Arizona. Further contact any local elected officials in areas that use cameras to demand an end to them.

James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association


First there are cameras at most intersections that are used to regulate traffic, but can also be used to find people that run red lights and cause accidents. Second: John Kromko, I hope you do not have a child or grandchild thrown from a vehicle that was involved in a red light running. Such an accident happened Memorial Day Weekend, a 5 to 7 year old girl was thrown out of a minivan that was flying 6 feet off the ground on to the drivers side. Luckily she was thrown far enough away from the vehicle that she lived and was not squashed from the vehicle landing on her. The problem today and John you are part of it is no one respect anyone or anything anymore.
I have sat at the red light at Wilmot and Golf Links and seen a ford pinto run a red light east to west while traffic was going North and South with a green light that was already green for close to twenty to thirty seconds. The driver and passenger in the brown pinto laughed the whole time while dodging traffic.
A few years ago Tucson was #4 in the NATION IN RUNNING RED LIGHTS. Two things we could do, 1. Replace all traffic lights with stop signs or we could go for #1 in the NATION FOR RUNNING RED LIGHTS.

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