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Speeding less than 10 mph over limit would cost less under bill

Bill Slane ~ Cronkite News~ 3/11/2015

PHOENIX – Do you occasionally sneak a few miles over the posted speed limit?

Then you probably take comfort in a state law setting the fine at $15 with no points off against driver’s license if the offense occurs in a 55 mph zone.

Now a state lawmaker wants to expand that law to cover all posted highway speed limits except in protected zones such as those for schools and road workers or in business or residential areas.

HB 2662, authored by Rep. David Stevens, R-Sierra Vista, would expand a law that defines driving less than 10 mph over the limit as a waste of finite resources. On March 3, it cleared the House on a 40-20 vote, sending it to the Senate.

Under the bill, driving 11 mph or over the posted speed limit would remain a regular traffic offense subject to a fine of no more than $250.

During a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing last month, Stevens said the bill would help law enforcement.

“It broadens when the police or law enforcement can use this tool,” he said.

Rep. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson, who voted against the bill in committee and on the floor, said that while on its face the proposal seems like a good thing for drivers, there would be repercussions for public safety.

“Let our local governments make these decisions,” she said during Tuesday’s floor vote.

AAA Arizona has come out strongly against the bill, saying the change would encourage speeding.

“Speeding is one of the most prevalent factors in a car crash,” said Linda Gorman, the group’s director of communications and public affairs. “As a safety leader, AAA believes HB 2662 will allow people who already have multiple moving violations to further jeopardize others’ safety on Arizona roadways.”

Valerie Vinyard, spokeswoman for AAA Arizona, said lawmakers should instead be changing the law so these types of speeding violations add points to a person’s license or count toward insurance rates.

“As a leader in traffic safety, AAA believes that would be a start. But the $15 fine, that’s not helpful at all,” she said.