Cardin Calls For Speed Camera Program Audit

State delegate says he wants a program that protects people and instills public confidence.

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 try 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, Baltimore City, Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery counties.

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.

In Baltimore City, citations provide time stamps on each of the two photos on the citations issued. Those time stamps allow for a math calculation that helps determine speed, according to the paper.

The General Assembly passed legislation allowing for the implementation of speed cameras in highway construction and school zones.

Baltimore County recently expanded its program to more than three dozen cameras in school zones around the county. The cameras operate every day of the year between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Drivers are issued a $40 ticket, with no points, for exceeding the speed limit by more than 12 mph.

Xerox State and Local Solutions, formerly known as ACS State and Local Solutions, gets nearly half of every fine paid to the county. Xerox is also the current camera vendor for speed cameras in Baltimore city, Howard County and the state of Maryland.

Elise Armacost, a Baltimore County police spokeswoman, said the county does not provide detailed time stamps on the photos included in its citations because it's not required by law.

"We follow the law as it is written," Armacost said.

Baltimore County police calibrate the devices daily.

"The cameras [in Baltimore County] are calibrated every morning and every evening and if there are any problems with the calibration we throw the tickets for that day out," Armacost said. "The key for us is the daily calibration."

Baltimore Matt December 10, 2012 at 11:45 PM
How about an automatic refund plus the same rate the city charges for tickets being paid late (about $350 per year)for all tickets issued by any particular camera that gives any tickets proven false (I don't care if it's only 1% that are wrong)... That will make the city sharpen up it's ticket program.
Joe December 11, 2012 at 12:09 AM
BMatt, good thought. I go again to taxing as normal income, all political campaign contributions, taxed to the receiver, usually the incumbent is hit worse. A trillion dollars donated a year taxed as your and my income would be if we were the top % earners of 35% or even the higher the libs want, is $350 Billion no?
Charm City Dental December 11, 2012 at 07:00 AM
Joe, Thank you for those helpful links.
Joe December 11, 2012 at 04:34 PM
If anyone needs proof that at least in DC these are cash cameras and have NOTHING to do with safety, read what Police Chief Lanier in DC had to say about the ability for drivers to know the locations of the cameras on their smart phone and other GPS devices. http://race42012.com/2009/07/16/the-dc-police-chief-cowardly-tactic-to-learn-where-i-place-red-light-cameras/ "Lanier said the technology is a “cowardly tactic” and “people who overly rely on those and break the law anyway are going to get caught” in one way or another." "Chief Lanier “promised her officers would pick up their game to counteract the devices, which can also help drivers dodge sobriety checkpoints.”" "Lanier says about the technology, “It’s designed to circumvent law enforcement — law enforcement that is designed specifically to save lives." According to The Examiner, Lanier doesn’t support an attempt to ban the camera-avoiding software — but only because it would be “too difficult.”" If thje drivers KNOW where the cameras are they WILL SLOW down to avoid a ticket and IF safety was the goal, she should have no issue since the goal will have been achieved.
Joe December 12, 2012 at 03:18 PM
So now the blowhard Gov says that paying companies per ticket violates MD law yet has not said he will do anything about it. Do something idiot don't just open your piehole.


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