Here you will find some of the most frequently asked questions about the photo safety program.
What is a Photo Safety Program?
The Mesa Police Department uses an automated traffic enforcement program to supplement traffic enforcement by Mesa police officers. The photo safety program deploys combinations of violation detection systems, digital cameras, and streaming video cameras to capture alleged violations. The components may be installed at intersections or mid-block at school zones.
The purpose of the photo safety program is to deter red light violations, reduce speeding violations, increase traffic situational awareness and reduce collision severity.
Why are automated enforcement systems used?
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), red light running is a leading cause of urban crashes and often causes injury and death. IIHS stated, "In 2009, 676 people were killed and an estimated 113,000 were injured in crashes that involved red light running. About half of the deaths in red light running crashes are pedestrians, bicyclists, and occupants in other vehicles who are hit by the red light runners." (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. (n.d.). Q&As: Red Light Cameras. Retrieved January 18, 2010, from Highway Safety Research & Communications: http://www.iihs.org/research/qanda/rlr.html)
The photo safety program uses automated enforcement components to complement and supplement traffic enforcement efforts by Mesa police officers in the Traffic Unit and Patrol Divisions. The photo safety program is one component of the Mesa Police Department's traffic safety strategy. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. (n.d.). Q&As: Red Light Cameras. Retrieved January 18, 2010, from Highway Safety Research & Communications: http://www.iihs.org/research/qanda/rlr.html)
What is a red light violation?
A red light violation occurs when a vehicle crosses the legal violation point and proceeds through the intersection after the traffic signal displays a steady red light. It is not a violation if the vehicle entered the intersection prior to the traffic signal displaying a steady red light.
In Arizona, the point of violation is defined as the "Prolongation" of the curb line. Simply stated, this is a line from the curb face on one side of the street to the curb face on the opposite side of the street. If a vehicle crosses this point after the traffic signal displays a steady red light, the driver committed a red light violation. If an intersection permits a right turn while displaying a steady red light, the vehicle must make a complete and discernable stop prior to the point of violation and then proceed through when traffic has cleared and it is safe to do so.
How do automated enforcement systems work?
At minimum, every automated enforcement system is a combination of two high speed and resolution digital cameras, and a violation detection system. The Mesa Police Department has three configurations of automated enforcement: intersection safety cameras and school zone safety cameras.
Intersection Safety Cameras
The intersection safety cameras are fixed installations at specific intersections. The intersection safety camera detects alleged red light violations and alleged speeding violations for straight through traffic. The intersection safety camera operates 24 hours a day.
The intersection safety cameras are hardwired to the traffic signal system to detect when the traffic signal displays a steady red light. Intersection safety camera systems use roadway sensors to detect vehicle presence and related speed. If the traffic signal is displaying a steady red light and the roadway sensors detect a moving vehicle, the intersection safety camera will photograph the vehicle prior to the violation line and inside the intersection. A second camera will photograph the front of the vehicle for driver identification purposes.
Some intersection safety camera cameras will detect vehicle presence and related speed during the steady green and steady yellow lights. If a vehicle commits an alleged speeding violation, the intersection safety camera will take two photographs of the vehicle while it passes through the intersection. A second camera will photograph the front of the vehicle for driver identification. The intersection safety camera will capture a 10 second video clip of the alleged violation.
School Zone Safety Cameras
School zone safety cameras were installed at specific Mesa Public School locations where the school is adjacent to a major arterial street. The school zone safety cameras will detect vehicle presence and related speed 24 hours per day. The School zone safety cameras are interfaced with the flashing yellow warning lights at the school zones to determine if the speed limit is reduced to 35 MPH during school hours. If a vehicle commits an alleged speeding violation, the school zone safety camera will take two photographs of the vehicle. A second camera will photograph the front of the vehicle for driver identification purposes. The school zone safety camera will capture a 10 second video clip of the alleged violation.
If I am already in the intersection when the light turns red, will I get a citation?
No. The intersection safety camera may take photographs of the alleged violation; however, the photo safety review process will ensure this type of alleged violation is dismissed. Citations are only issued when a vehicle enters the intersection AFTER the steady red light is displayed.
Who receives the citation?
The Mesa Police Department reviews alleged violations captured by the automated enforcement systems to determine whether a citation should be issued to an individual. Citations are mailed to the alleged driver based upon address information contained in motor vehicle files, driver's license files, and/or other public records.
What is the amount of the fine?
The Mesa Municipal Court provides information about civil traffic sanction schedules, payment information, and authorized defensive driving classes. Red light violations are cited as ARS Â§28-645A3a. Speed greater than reasonable or prudent violations are cited as ARS Â§28-701A.
What if the alleged driver was not driving the vehicle at the time of the violations?
The driver listed on the citation should read, complete, sign, and submit the Affidavit of Non-Responsibility (Option "B"). The Affidavit of Non-Responsibility along with a legible driver's license photocopy must be received at the Mesa Police Department within 30 days of the violation date.
The submitted information will be reviewed by the Mesa Police Department. If the information is acceptable, the citation will be dismissed, retained, and/or be re-issued based upon information provided on the Affidavit or other public records. If the vehicle was reported stolen at the time of the violation, the owner must submit the Affidavit of Non-Responsibility with a copy of the official police report.
Can I receive citations for other offenses as a result of my red light camera or photo speed citation?
No. The photo safety program only issues a citation for red light or speed violation. The Mesa Police Department does not assign multiple violations or other offenses to the citation.
Does the Photo Safety Program post the location of automated enforcement systems?
Yes. You may find the information on the programs Web page.
Where do I mail my payment?Mail your check or money order, payable to the City of Mesa, along with the tear-off coupon (Section "A") in the enclosed envelope, making sure the payment side shows through the envelope window. Do not mail cash. Write your Violation Notice Number on the check.
Mesa Municipal Court
Photo Safety Program
250 E 1st Ave
Mesa, AZ 85210
Can I pay my fine in person?
You may also pay in person at the Mesa Municipal Court; 250 E 1st Ave, Mesa, AZ 85210 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, excluding holidays.
Where do I mail my Affidavit of Non-Responsibility?
Sign the front and mail "Section B," which has the notice number on the back, along with a legible copy of your driver's license to:
Mesa Police Department
Photo Safety Program
PO Box 1466
Mesa, AZ 85211
What if I want to request a hearing or attend Defensive Driving School?
Sign the front of Section "C" and "D," follow the instructions on page 4 of the citation and then, on the back, place a check mark by option C or D. Mail this section to:
Mesa Municipal Court
Photo Safety Program 250 E 1st Ave Mesa, AZ 85210
Where can I get help with my photo safety citation?
The vendor's customer service center can be reached toll-free Monday thru Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. by calling 1-866-790-4111 and the Mesa Police Photo Safety Unit can be reached Monday through Thursday, 7:00 am to 3:00 pm, excluding holidays.