Legislation to help motorists beat red lights vetoed by Brewer - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Legislation to help motorists beat red lights vetoed by Brewer

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Posted: Thursday, May 10, 2012 10:29 am

Motorists thinking they’ve beat the red light won’t be getting any help from the state in beating the ticket, at least not this year.

Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday vetoed legislation to alter the legal definition of an “intersection” in state law. Brewer, in her 19th veto of the session, said she feared such a change would lead to more accidents.

Under state law, a motorist breaks the law by entering an intersection after the light has turned red. But the law defines intersection as being any point beyond the line that extends from the adjacent curbs.

Sen. Frank Antenori, R-Tucson, said that is misleading. He said motorists who are in the crosswalk at the time the light changes presume they can proceed through.

They cannot, at least not legally. And Antenori said some cities take advantage of the misunderstanding by setting up red-light cameras to capture errant drivers.

Brewer, in her veto message, was unconvinced, saying police believe the most dangerous place in city traffic is an intersection.

“This danger can only be heightened by increasing the time in which a collision may occur while simultaneously attempting to reeducate drivers concerning where the boundaries lie,” she wrote. The governor also said that police concerns were not taken into account.

Brewer instead directed the state Department of Transportation to work with lawmakers and the Department of Public Safety to look closer at the issue before next year. And she warned that the views of police have to be considered.

“I will not support this change unless law enforcement stands with it,” she said.

The question of police views became an issue during the session.

A Phoenix police officer testified against the measure when it came before the House Transportation Committee, saying he believes it would lead to more accidents and deaths. That led to the committee killing that version of the bill and triggered an angry shouting match between Antenori and the officer outside the hearing room.

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