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Radar Rover: Web site tracks cameras throughout state

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Posted: Sunday, March 8, 2009 11:00 pm

Two childhood friends who grew up in Ahwatukee Foothills have created a Web site that shows the locations of both stationary and mobile camera units throughout Phoenix and Tucson.

Matt Stone and Kade Miller created radarrover.com in September 2008 to provide accessible information to Arizona drivers. They say their site is not meant to take sides on the photo radar issue.

The site is meant to "take away that surprise factor," Stone said. "Things are bound to happen; hopefully it makes (people) a little more cautious in some areas."

Miller, who does site maintenance and is the main source of capital for the Web site, said the duo saw a need to post such information. Both Stone and Miller emphasized that they are not in this for monetary gain, but to help Arizona drivers.

The way it works is that subscribers receive e-mail alerts about where mobile and stationary cameras are. Stone said, hopefully, in the future they will be able to make downloadable maps with the locations of cameras for GPS units.

"Cameras can pose a safety threat," Stone said. "We think it is the right of the people to know everything about (photo radar)."

However, C.W. Griffin, a retired consulting engineer and Ahwatukee Foothills resident, thinks photo radar is a "no-brainer."

He said that he can't understand how a rational person wouldn't see the benefit of having the cameras around.

"The only defense for speeding is to save time," Griffin said. "All you have to do is drive 75 mph in a 65 mph zone and you're safe."

According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety Web site, photo enforcement cameras reduced total collisions by about 44 percent in a study done along the Loop 101 Freeway in 2007.

Former mayor of Fountain Hills and current Chandler resident, Jon Beydler, is avidly against photo radar. He believes it is not used by the state and local governments for safety purposes, but for revenue.

"I think it's taxation without representation," he said.

Beydler's argument is that drivers often slam on their brakes just before photo enforcement zones, creating a potential hazard, and then they speed back up.

However, he thinks that a Web site that tracks photo radar locations is "silly."

Beydler said people know the locations of the stationary cameras they pass every day, so a Web site is unnecessary.

Griffin took a more extreme approach to the notion.

"I think it should be outlawed," he said. "You should drive safely wherever you are."

Stone said there will always be people against their quest because they do not understand the Web site's goal. However, there are about 1,200 current subscribers to Radar Rover. In between November and January alone, the Web site had around 120,000 page views per month.

"We have both had enough experience on the roads here to know how dangerous it is," Stone said. "We just think that the state needs to be transparent about (photo radar)."

Radar Rover is currently free to subscribers. Neither Stone nor Miller view the Web site as a "breadwinner." They are hoping to make Radar Rover completely ad based, so they will not be forced to charge fees later.

Miller said their ultimate goal is to make the roads safer.

 

Dani Nosek is interning this semester for the AFN. She is a freshman at Arizona State University.

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