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Are You Fed Up With Montgomery County Speed Cameras?

State Delegate Jon Cardin seeks to root out bogus citations.

A state delegate from Baltimore County says public confidence in speed cameras has deteriorated to the point that a state audit and possible reboot are needed.

Del. Jon Cardin said Monday he plans to sponsor a bill calling for an audit of state and local speed camera tickets with an eye on rooting out bogus citations.

"Maybe it's time to go back to the drawing board," Cardin said.

The Baltimore County Democrat said he is in the process of drawing up a bill that would create an audit due to legislators by October 2013. Instances of bogus tickets issued to drivers would result in a $1,000 per incident penalty, though it is not clear if the jurisdiction or the speed camera vendor would be responsible for the fine, Cardin said.

"I'm not trying to put people out of business," Cardin said. "I'm concerned with trying to create a system that is accurate and keeps people safe."

Cardin said he would like to see judges throw out tickets when it's not clear that the driver was speeding. He stopped short of saying he would include language in his bill that would freeze speed camera programs used by the state, Montgomery, Baltimore and Howard counties and Baltimore City. 

Cardin's news conference came a day after the Baltimore Sun reported that some counties have no way for drivers or judges to determine if the car pictured was actually speeding.

While cameras are located in a variety of areas, Montgomery County allowed their use in school zones and work areas three years before a statewide law was enacted.

In Montgomery County, speed cameras take a series of photgraphs to document vehicles traveling at or above 12 mph higher than the posted speed limit. The owner of a vahicle deemed to be in violation will recieve a $40 citation (but no points), as well as copies of the violation photos, and the noted speed of the vehicle.

Montgomery County laws do provide a method for drivers to appeal their citation in person at Maryland District Court. 

Ian Brett Cooper December 18, 2012 at 02:35 PM
So speed cameras are only set to record violations of motorists who go 12mph over the speed limit. Not 1mph or 5mph, but 12mph over? That is ridiculous! If I ever speed - even by 1mph over the limit, I feel bad about it, and that's the way it should be. If a speed camera was there, it should give me a ticket - not a $40 ticket, but something like a $500 ticket. It should not ignore the violation. Too many people see the speed limit as a joke. It should not be that way, ESPECIALLY in this economic climate, Montgomery County surely needs all the funds it can get. Why not get it from the most blatant lawbreakers around - those who speed? I think it's about time we stopped messing around with the reckless drivers who routinely violate speed limits. I'm all for a reasonable margin of error, but on a 20mph road, that margin should not be more than 25% of the speed limit. In this case, it is 60%. 12mph as a margin of error makes more sense when the limit is 65mph, but not when it is 20mph. In order to get drivers to travel at the real speed limit, the speed limit on 20mph roads would have to be 8mph! Frankly, that is ridiculous. The speed limit should mean something. It should be enforced using methods that are reliable and tuned to see any violation, not just egregious ones. And a $40 fine is a joke. These criminals should be stuck with a $500 fine, or a driving ban. Speeding kills! It should not be treated as a minor violation.
Thomas Paine December 18, 2012 at 04:25 PM
The MD law on speed cameras was conceived in sin as a way to squeeze more money out of citizens, while hiding behind a bogus claim of increasing safety. Generally accepted traffic safety standards call for speed limits to be set at the limit under which 85% of drivers drive in the absence of any speed limit. Exceptions to this 85% rule are understandable in school zones during school hours, in work zones during work hours, and maybe in certain other special circumstances. No such traffic study was done on any of the locations where Montgomery County placed speed cameras. Instead, the cameras were placed in locations selected to maximize revenue, often in areas where the speed limit is unreasonably low. In addition to this, folks receiving these these tickets are denied due process, as the tickets arrive with a pre-printed "signature" of someone claiming they reviewed the photos and are satisfied the charged person was, infact, speeding. The accused has no way to challenge this in court, because the alleged "signer" is not required to appear, nor is anyone required to appear who could testify as to the accuracy, reliability, calibration, or maintenance of the speed camera equipment. And those small print "photo enforced" signs - the print should be required by law to be as large as the speed limit itself.
Ian Brett Cooper December 21, 2012 at 01:56 PM
No speed limit is 'unreasonably low'. If you're getting caught by speed cameras, you're breaking the law and you deserve whatever punishment the government says you deserve. I don't care why the speed cameras were set up. If it was up to me, I'd put those who speed in jail. I mean, is it really so difficult to obey the speed limit?
Ian Brett Cooper December 21, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Honestly, motorists have a huge sense of entitlement. They took away their right to drive in the 1900s because of this kind of habitual and unrepentant abuse.
John Smith February 28, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Ian you’re a moron or you work for the speed camera companies. Speed limits are set at arbitrary levels across the county except in school zones where the speed limit by law is 25 mph. One only has to look at speed limits that have changed in areas of the county over time to see that speed limits can vary depending on the level of traffic and the outcry of frustration from citizens that use those roads on a daily basis. Unfortunately speed cameras are put in place to maximize revenue for the speed camera companies (that keep up to 75% of the revenue). This creates a conflict of interest in the placement of the cameras as they are normally placed where the speed camera companies can earn the greatest return on investment. If anyone should be deciding on speed camera placement it should be the citizens of the local area that are being targeted. A review of the appropriate speed limit for that area should be made at the same time. If 85-95% of traffic is safely traveling at a speed above the posted limit then the citizens have spoken, and the limit should be raised to reflect the community standards. Instead what's happening is we have big brother drilling downward "thou shall not go over this arbitrary speed limit" and to add insult to injury, we'll place a speed camera in your path to enforce big brothers wishes. If you would like to get a ticket for 1 mph over the limit by god, you should have that right. I’m sure the police would be happy to issue you a ticket.
Sarah Sanderson June 28, 2013 at 06:05 PM
I think the automated speed camera policy is a fraud. It is a policy propagandized under the guise “safety” concerns, but it is only a means for extra revenue collection. Most drivers in Maryland do not intentionally drive recklessly or at unsafe speeds. Modern day vehicles are so smooth and quiet that exceeding speed limits above ten miles an hour in zones set at ridiculously low values such as 30 mph are hardly noticeable and endanger no one. Perhaps if less money was wasted by useless government bureaucracy, these slithery means of extra tax collection would be unnecessary. I never voted for such cameras, and I would wager that 90% of all citizens outside of the contractors who create these devices to fill their own pockets with money would never vote to have them installed. Democracy has become a sham in this country and government officials who are public servants should be ashamed of themselves. If it was truly about safety, then any money collected should simply be donated to a charity of choice by the perpetrating individual, but we know that’s never going to happen because we know exactly what the slithery purpose is for such devices.

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