Arizona Could Face Increased DUI and Photo Radar Issues During Super Bowl XLIX

The last time Arizona hosted the Super Bowl in 2008, a total of 10,409 DUI arrests were made and 937 traffic fatalities occurred that year. Of those deaths, 35 percent were alcohol related.

The risks associated high volumes of people in one area, such as drunk driving and other traffic concerns are lingering issues Arizona must face less than six months before it hosts Super Bowl XLIX, the nation’s largest annual sporting event.

Adjustments are being made in Arizona to accommodate the Super Bowl since Glendale may not have enough space or resources to do so on its own.

The NFL moved the NFL Experience fan event and the media headquarters from Glendale to downtown Phoenix, and notable CEOs and business executives from the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee are expected to raise $35 million to help Glendale and the University of Phoenix put on the event next year, the Phoenix Business Journal reports.

With the event expanding from Glendale to other cities, traffic and transportation safety are factors for local officials to examine.

Super Bowl Sunday ranks as one of the most dangerous times of the year for drunk driving deaths. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on that Sunday and into the following Monday, 43 percent of all traffic fatalities were caused by drunk driving in 2012, Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports.

Due to increased traffic in Glendale during the Super Bowl, drivers will need to be aware of the photo radar cameras positioned across the West Valley. These devices have caused issues for drivers who believe that certain areas have become speed traps that lack consistency when it comes to ticketing, Your West Valley reports.

Last spring, Glendale requested $2 million for public safety costs during the Super Bowl which the Arizona Legislature later rejected.

Despite the rejected request, Glendale City Councilman Gary Sherwood said that the city is ahead of schedule on its commitments to the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee for public safety and transportation, The Arizona Republic said.

In contrast, Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill believes the city isn’t doing enough.

“The city hall people really have done nothing” to support Super Bowl XLIX, Bidwill said in an interview with The Arizona Republic sports columnist Dan Bickley in August.

Radar That Can Detect Texting and Driving? Corso Law Group Weighs in on Questionable Photo Radar Device

Virginia-based company ComSonic is developing a radar gun that can detect when someone is texting and driving.

Drawing from the technology used by cable technicians to repair lines by reading frequencies emitted from leaks and damages, the company is using this same concept to detect radio frequencies, sent out from text messages when the phone is being used in the car.

 

This device could help decrease the number of distracted drivers on the road, and with that, reduce the number of accidents caused by texting and driving each year.

Texting while driving increases the risk of a crash by 23 percent compared to a situation where a driver is not distracted, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

In 2012, 3,328 were killed and an estimated 421,000 were injured in distraction-affected crashes, the Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving said.

Teenagers are the group most at risk for texting and driving accidents. Newsday reports that in 2013, texting and driving replaced drunk driving as the number one killer of American teens who openly admit to texting behind the wheel.

Currently, 44 states have banned texting while driving for all drivers while others only ban new drivers. In Arizona, only school bus drivers are banned from using handheld devices while driving.

You can find state-by-state information on distracted driving laws in this report by the Government Highway Safety Association.

Although ComSonic’s texting radar device could help reduce accidents, some are concerned about the breach of privacy that could be involved with accessing drivers’ cell phone data.

“It would really depend on what it could detect,” said Jeffrey Kegler, an attorney for Scottsdale-based Arizona traffic attorneys Corso Law Group, who has had extensive experience and certification working with the calibration and testing of DUI breathalyzers and photo radar equipment at Columbia Analytical Services.

“I would almost guarantee that it could not tell the difference between streaming, sharing a wireless signal or transferring data to your car,” Kegler said.

Malcolm McIntyre, ComSonic’s calibration services manager, said that text messages emit a different frequency than other cell phone activities, and the equipment would not be able to decrypt information transmitted from drivers’ phones, The Virginian-Pilot reports.

The fledgling device still faces several hurdles before production goes underway, including legislative approval, adoption by police departments and determining whether it could tell who in the vehicle was texting when a driver has multiple passengers in the car.

Most drivers tense up and hit the brakes when they see a police officer pointing a radar gun at their cars, but in the future, be aware that photo radar might detect more than just speed. The Arizona traffic lawyers at Corso Law Group are here to provide Arizona drivers with expert defense from photo radar issues.

Phoenix Turns to Pay Cuts as a Way to Avoid Reducing Fire and Police Department Services

Could payroll cuts help keep Phoenix police offers on the street? Phoenix’s city manager thinks so.

In May, Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher’s proposal to cut pay and benefits cut for all city employees by a 1.6 percent as a way to manage Phoenix’s budget was voted on and approved by several emergency worker unions.

These “shared sacrifices,” as Zuercher said in The Arizona Republic, have been put into effect to save Phoenix from an egregiously out of control budget without reducing the size of the police or firefighter force, which can lead to a miscellany of other issues. Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher

For example, in 2011 Sacramento made large cuts to its police department, and the city saw significant increases in crime. From 2011 to 2012, shootings went up by 48 percent. Rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries and vehicle thefts also increased, The New York Times said.

Similarly, Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona President Bryan Jeffries, has suggested a plan that also reduces firefighter and police officer compensation by asking them to voluntarily cut their pensions to save the city money and to repair a flawed retirement program.

Jeffries plan asks emergency workers to be the main voice when it comes to determining how pensions are reduced. For this to happen, he is currently trying to get a vote on a Constitutional amendment to prevent lawmakers from producing even more drastic changes in the future. This would quell the fears of police officers and firefighters who worry that their pay and pensions could be reduced too severely.

Although many workers are not pleased with the implemented pay cuts, others have accepted the sacrifice.

“We weren’t willing to cut everyone else so we could get a raise,” fire union President Pete Gorraiz said according to The Republic. “Nobody wants to take cuts, but we understand the fiscal realities.”

Smaller police departments could mean increased crime rates. Phoenix reduced city employee pay and benefits rather than cutting workers and limiting important public services.