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Author Topic: Maryland and speed cameras  (Read 29148 times)

Brandon

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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #25 on: November 18, 2013, 01:52:56 PM »

^^ I think the takeaway message here is not to use these cameras in the first place.
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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2013, 02:29:27 PM »

^^ I think the takeaway message here is not to use these cameras in the first place.

Baltimore City, in spite of generous subsidies from Maryland taxpayer statewide, has an absolutely insatiable appetite for revenue, and automated speed limit enforcement has been a source of big money over the past several years.

The city will keep looking for a vendor that can do automated speed enforcement until it finds one.  No way is the city going to give up such a bountiful revenue source (much of it collected from non-city residents).
« Last Edit: November 18, 2013, 02:31:52 PM by cpzilliacus »
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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2013, 03:48:30 PM »

^^ I think the takeaway message here is not to use these cameras in the first place.

Baltimore City, in spite of generous subsidies from Maryland taxpayer statewide, has an absolutely insatiable appetite for revenue, and automated speed limit enforcement has been a source of big money over the past several years.

The city will keep looking for a vendor that can do automated speed enforcement until it finds one.  No way is the city going to give up such a bountiful revenue source (much of it collected from non-city residents).

Try and try as they might, the cameras themselves are inaccurate and not wholly reliable (I've seen red light cameras snapping photographs of vehicles going through green lights as an example).  It may be cheaper for Baltimore to stop where they are instead of continually opening themselves up to potential lawsuits (like the ones they've already lost) whereby they may spend more money than they take in as revenue.  Chicago's doing the same thing right now, and I foresee where they will get into trouble the same way (with Baltimore's former vendor) as Baltimore has.  Sometimes it's wiser to keep the lawsuit door closed.
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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #28 on: November 25, 2013, 09:43:16 AM »

WTOP Radio: Drivers' videos show Morningside speed-camera problems

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MORNINGSIDE, Md. - A WTOP Ticketbuster investigation has uncovered serious questions about the accuracy of a speed camera on Suitland Road in Morningside, Md.

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The revelation comes from two videos shot by drivers inside their cars. Steven Johnson, of Upper Marlboro, and Mike Weathersby, of Morningside, shared the videos exclusively with WTOP. Both had been suspicious about the cameras and wanted to record evidence.

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Weathersby shot his video on Aug. 14 while driving past the 6800 Suitland Road South camera at 7:18 p.m.

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"You see the camera in the video, you'll see my clock on the dashboard, you'll see my speedometer and you'll plainly see it's at 30 miles per hour. You'll also hear WTOP on in the background. And I got the ticket that said 44 miles per hour," says Weathersby. "But the video shows me going 30 miles per hour. How can you dispute it? It's video. It isn't edited; it just shows me going past the camera and it shows my speed on the speedometer."
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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #29 on: November 25, 2013, 10:32:32 AM »

WTOP Radio: Drivers' videos show Morningside speed-camera problems

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MORNINGSIDE, Md. - A WTOP Ticketbuster investigation has uncovered serious questions about the accuracy of a speed camera on Suitland Road in Morningside, Md.

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The revelation comes from two videos shot by drivers inside their cars. Steven Johnson, of Upper Marlboro, and Mike Weathersby, of Morningside, shared the videos exclusively with WTOP. Both had been suspicious about the cameras and wanted to record evidence.

Quote
Weathersby shot his video on Aug. 14 while driving past the 6800 Suitland Road South camera at 7:18 p.m.

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"You see the camera in the video, you'll see my clock on the dashboard, you'll see my speedometer and you'll plainly see it's at 30 miles per hour. You'll also hear WTOP on in the background. And I got the ticket that said 44 miles per hour," says Weathersby. "But the video shows me going 30 miles per hour. How can you dispute it? It's video. It isn't edited; it just shows me going past the camera and it shows my speed on the speedometer."

Sounds like someone sped past the cameras, then turned around, tuned the radio, turned his cell phone video recorder on, then calmly drove by the camera again (a few minutes' time different wouldn't be relevent). 

I'm sure a close look at his video, vs. the speed camera video, would reveal if his car was driving in the same spot in the lane, as well as the same vehicles before & after him, as well as opposing traffic.
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Jardine

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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #30 on: November 25, 2013, 10:58:45 AM »

I'm thinking with the dire budget situations in municipalities, states, and feds, law enforcement operations that CAN be automated WILL be automated.

Two officers in a car is expensive, and technology gets cheaper everyday.

The flip side of the red light and speed camera issue is nobody wants to pay higher taxes for ever increasing municipal budgets, but we won't tolerate chaos on the roads either.

I don't know about elsewhere, but a local city has stop light cameras, THERE ARE SIGNS warning of their presence, they are STATIONARY, and they still catch people all day long.

Under those conditions, I am thinking folks caught in that town don't need to be driving and endangering me if they are that insulated and unaware of their surroundings. And if there are cheaper ways of zapping them back into minimal levels of consciousness,  I am in favor of it.


Put down the cheeseburger, hang up the phone, drop the lipstick, turn off the Ipad, and drive your farking car!
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roadman65

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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #31 on: November 25, 2013, 11:05:56 AM »

I could not believe also what I saw twice.  People drinking beer in the car while in motion.  One time in Clearwater, FL and the other was in Orlando.  I cannot remember in both cases if it was the driver, but I do know for sure it was the driver at least one of the two instances.

If that can happen, then cell phones sure can.  In fact more as there are more users than drinkers.  It irks me all the time when someone who nearly hits me, is on that darned phone in one form or another.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #32 on: November 25, 2013, 12:28:03 PM »

I'm thinking with the dire budget situations in municipalities, states, and feds, law enforcement operations that CAN be automated WILL be automated.

Two officers in a car is expensive, and technology gets cheaper everyday.

And the Town of Morningside is a small place, and I don't believe they ever have more than one or maybe two officers on-duty.  Suitland Road through the town has long been a place where speed limit compliance is wise - long before automated enforcement (though in Maryland, it could not really be called a speed trap, because fine revenue from moving violations has for years gone to the state, not to the municipality or  county that wrote the ticket). 

The flip side of the red light and speed camera issue is nobody wants to pay higher taxes for ever increasing municipal budgets, but we won't tolerate chaos on the roads either.

Morningside gets "out of town" traffic from the federal Suitland Parkway on its north side, and I-95/I-495 and Joint Base Andrews on the south side.  Those are the people that are likely to get burned by the speed cameras.  Unfortunately, state law in Maryland allows counties and municipalities to keep the revenue from automated enforcement - IMO, that is wrong.

I don't know about elsewhere, but a local city has stop light cameras, THERE ARE SIGNS warning of their presence, they are STATIONARY, and they still catch people all day long.

I like red light automated enforcement.  Running a red light can have fatal consequences.

Under those conditions, I am thinking folks caught in that town don't need to be driving and endangering me if they are that insulated and unaware of their surroundings. And if there are cheaper ways of zapping them back into minimal levels of consciousness,  I am in favor of it.

An automated ticket, at least for now, has no impact on a driving record, and the insurance companies cannot find out about them.  So in that sense they are "cheap."

Put down the cheeseburger, hang up the phone, drop the lipstick, turn off the Ipad, and drive your farking car!

And there is a McDonald's on the corner of Suitland Road and Md. 337 (Allentown Road) on the south edge of Morningside that sells plenty of fatburgers.

In the image you will see the remains of a red light camera setup, which I believe was shut-down (perhaps because it was not generating enough revenue).
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #33 on: November 25, 2013, 12:31:18 PM »

Sounds like someone sped past the cameras, then turned around, tuned the radio, turned his cell phone video recorder on, then calmly drove by the camera again (a few minutes' time different wouldn't be relevent). 

I'm sure a close look at his video, vs. the speed camera video, would reveal if his car was driving in the same spot in the lane, as well as the same vehicles before & after him, as well as opposing traffic.

If you really want to prove that  a speed camera is improperly calibrated, I think you need a dash cam that records the speed and the latitude and longitude as the car drives along (such units are commonly used by law enforcement).
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Indyroads

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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #34 on: November 26, 2013, 09:47:14 PM »

Further proof that slower speeds do sometimes lead to more accidents.
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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #35 on: November 26, 2013, 10:12:27 PM »

Further proof that slower speeds do sometimes lead to more accidents.
That's like saying the existence of black people leads to racism. It's the fault of those driving too fast/too closely/etc.
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Brandon

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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #36 on: November 30, 2013, 08:33:05 PM »

Sounds like someone sped past the cameras, then turned around, tuned the radio, turned his cell phone video recorder on, then calmly drove by the camera again (a few minutes' time different wouldn't be relevent). 

I'm sure a close look at his video, vs. the speed camera video, would reveal if his car was driving in the same spot in the lane, as well as the same vehicles before & after him, as well as opposing traffic.

If you really want to prove that  a speed camera is improperly calibrated, I think you need a dash cam that records the speed and the latitude and longitude as the car drives along (such units are commonly used by law enforcement).

How's this for calibration?  A speeding warning from a speed camera in Chicago was sent to the owner of a car, an obviously parked car.

Speed camera system flags a parked car

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On a Friday night in October, Megan Kasten parked her car for five minutes on Augusta Boulevard near Humboldt Park while she picked up a friend to go see a movie.

A month later, Kasten said she got a warning notice in the mail for speeding past the Northwest Side park at 37 miles per hour, a violation recorded by one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's new speed cameras.

In the image, her car is obviously parked in the parking lane.

Then, behind the paywall,

Speed camera system flags a parked car

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The initial ATS decision is reviewed next by an employee of the city Finance Department, as required under state law. Violations are sent for a final review to another city vendor, IBM. An IBM employee also examines the images and checks records to determine whether a warning or ticket should go out, Kubly said.

But warnings issued during a camera's grace period are reviewed only twice — by ATS and IBM — and not by a city employee, Kubly said. So in the case of Kasten's errant warning, both ATS and IBM employees incorrectly reviewed the speed camera images, Kubly said.

Evidence, IMHO, of a flawed system with the potential for both abuse and fraud.  Mostly due to this,

Quote
Emanuel is counting on $70 million in speed camera revenue for 2014, although some aldermen have estimated that the amount will be much higher.

If you're depending on speed cameras to plug holes in your budget, you have major problems.
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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #37 on: December 05, 2013, 01:14:36 PM »

I'm not a fan of the speed cameras, but I have to say that the way Maryland implements them is relatively fair.

The cameras exist right after signs saying "Speed Limit XX -Photo Enforced"

The cameras allow you to drive up to 11 mph over the limit without receiving a ticket

The cameras exist on major highways only where there is road construction (operable 24 hours a day, not just when the road crews are out)

Outside of Montgomery County, the cameras on surface streets only exist in school zones (Unfortunately I'm in Montgomery County and the cameras can be anywhere)

The fines aren't terribly high and no points are added.

However, in DC, there is definitely a gotcha system with these cameras.  Cameras are posted on I-395 and I-295, a much lower speed is allowed and the fines are much higher. 
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Brandon

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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #39 on: January 24, 2014, 06:58:20 PM »

Baltimore Sun: AAA calls on counties to audit speed camera programs - Baltimore councilman calls for hearing on secret audit that detailed high error rates

If they have a 10% error rate, and some of these cameras have 45-58% error rates, then the system should be removed immediately.  Anything else is basically fraud.  In fact, I suggest that anyone who got a ticket should start a class-action lawsuit against these counties and municipalities using the cameras, as well as the owners/operators of the systems, and sue them for fraud.
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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #40 on: January 24, 2014, 09:13:50 PM »

Baltimore Sun: AAA calls on counties to audit speed camera programs - Baltimore councilman calls for hearing on secret audit that detailed high error rates

If they have a 10% error rate, and some of these cameras have 45-58% error rates, then the system should be removed immediately.  Anything else is basically fraud.  In fact, I suggest that anyone who got a ticket should start a class-action lawsuit against these counties and municipalities using the cameras, as well as the owners/operators of the systems, and sue them for fraud.

All of that requires an attorney well-versed in such class-action lawsuits. 

But what a person ticketed can do (at least in most jurisdictions) is to challenge the ticket in court.  That's not the same as a class-action suit, but it seems to me that doing so (and willing) will tend to build a legal record against all such tickets - which might be used down the line in a class-action suit.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #41 on: March 11, 2014, 11:22:00 AM »

Baltimore Sun:  Arizona firm lobbying to run Baltimore's speed cameras - 'Show me some love,' lobbyist asks deputy mayor

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A major speed and red light camera company is lobbying city government to take over the city's once-lucrative traffic camera system, records show.

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Throughout 2013, Arizona-based speed camera firm American Traffic Solutions Inc. spent $25,000 lobbying city government in hopes of winning a new traffic camera contract after the city shut the system down in April amid accuracy concerns.

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Brandon

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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #42 on: March 11, 2014, 01:45:04 PM »

Baltimore Sun:  Arizona firm lobbying to run Baltimore's speed cameras - 'Show me some love,' lobbyist asks deputy mayor

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A major speed and red light camera company is lobbying city government to take over the city's once-lucrative traffic camera system, records show.

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Throughout 2013, Arizona-based speed camera firm American Traffic Solutions Inc. spent $25,000 lobbying city government in hopes of winning a new traffic camera contract after the city shut the system down in April amid accuracy concerns.

The video of the guy getting one for waiting at a red signal is priceless.

ATS is also the bunch of bozos who gave a ticket for speeding to a parked car (see above) in Chicago.
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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #43 on: April 07, 2014, 03:18:23 AM »

WJZ-TV (13): Maryland General Assembly Passes New Speed Camera Regulations

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There are some changes ahead in the way Maryland jurisdictions operate speed cameras. The General Assembly passes new regulations.

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If every flash means $40, it’s easy to see how local governments rake in millions on speed cameras. Companies getting a cut on each ticket call into question the accuracy of the cameras.

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“I know for a fact I wasn’t speeding on any of them,” Michael Weathersby said.

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Weathersby’s story helped convince the General Assembly that more oversight is needed on speed camera operations. After lots of questions, lawmakers decided to eliminate the bounty–no more per-ticket payments to companies. Operators with error rates in excess of five percent will be fined. Improvements have been made in the appeal process, with a person to make sure the tickets are legitimate.
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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #44 on: June 02, 2014, 02:56:56 AM »

Washington Post: Maryland tightens law on speed cameras

[Emphasis added below]

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These are the key provisions:
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A government must ensure that citations issued using cameras are sworn to by law enforcement officers.
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The contractors responsible for the cameras can’t receive payments based on the number of tickets issued by their cameras.
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A contractor must pay damages if more than 5 percent of the camera tickets are issued erroneously.
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A school zone speed limit must be at least 20 mph to have a camera.
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Before activating a speed camera, the local jurisdiction must ensure that each sign designating a school zone is near a sign warning of the speed camera’s use. When a camera is installed at a new location and the signs set up, the camera can issue only warnings for the first 15 days of operation.
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A jurisdiction using speed cameras must designate an employee to act as a sort of ombudsman for people who complain about citations. If the employee determines the ticket was issued in error, the employee can void the citation. (This is in addition to the District Court review, which is still available to people who get speed camera citations.)
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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #45 on: June 02, 2014, 05:36:23 PM »

Washington Post: Maryland tightens law on speed cameras

[Emphasis added below]

Quote
These are the key provisions:

Quote
The contractors responsible for the cameras can’t receive payments based on the number of tickets issued by their cameras.
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A contractor must pay damages if more than 5 percent of the camera tickets are issued erroneously.


Those two will effectively kill speed cameras.  I'd be willing to bet there are very few, if any, new installations after this goes into effect.  The whole scheme is profit-based for the crooks..er..companies involved.
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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #46 on: June 05, 2014, 10:09:58 PM »

Hate to say it but even so the number of camera sites around Baltimore construction zones continues to increase.  A camera site was just set up on I-695 near I-795, the camera zone was extended north in the ETL work area on I-95 (now north of White Marsh), and cameras will soon be set up around I-395 where the elevated roadway on I-95 is being resurfaced.
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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #47 on: December 08, 2014, 11:22:48 PM »

Baltimore Sun editorial: Smaller is better

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A Baltimore City Council investigative committee looking into the city's problem-plagued speed- and red light-camera program has discovered what should have been obvious all along: That the now suspended system was far too big to be managed efficiently, that it was set up too quickly by the companies contracted to install and operate the equipment and that it didn't have enough qualified staff to monitor all the errors in the avalanche of tickets it issued.

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Given the magnitude of all those compounded problems it's no wonder the system failed. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says she wants to resurrect the program next year with a system less prone to error, but if that's true it's long been clear what the blueprint of a better program should look like. The city needs a smaller, more narrowly targeted effort whose primary mission is making city roads and highways safer for motorists and pedestrians, not one primarily aimed at generating additional revenues for the municipal coffers.

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Why it's taking so long for that to happen is a mystery. Mayor Rawlings-Blake says she's waiting until a City Council investigation is complete before moving forward, but so far, that investigation has told us nothing we did not already know. A recent city Inspector General's report accusing the mayor's former chief of staff of attempting to steer a speed camera contract to a particular vendor doesn't change matters either. The city didn't choose that vendor, and the official in question has since left city government.
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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #48 on: December 19, 2014, 12:41:25 AM »

Baltimore Sun: Xerox says city police share responsibility for speed camera errors

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Managers from Baltimore's former speed camera vendor Xerox State & Local Solutions defended their actions Wednesday before a City Council committee investigating what went wrong with the city's system, which has been shut down for more than a year after issuing erroneous tickets.

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Senior Vice President Allen Shutt acknowledged some of his company's employees got "a little sloppy" in how they approved tickets in 2012, but he said Baltimore's Police Department shared responsibility for issuing bogus tickets.

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"This is critically important: Only a law enforcement officer can issue a citation," Shutt said. "No citation can be issued without police approval."
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Re: Maryland and speed cameras
« Reply #49 on: December 21, 2014, 11:18:59 AM »

Baltimore Sun: Even with speed cameras off, no pedestrians injured in school zones

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City officials say Baltimore's speed camera system was designed to protect children walking in school zones. And indeed, no pedestrians were injured in school-zone crashes the last year the cameras operated.

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But there also were no pedestrian injuries in school zones the year the extensive camera system was shut down.

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According to Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration data, no pedestrians were injured by vehicles in city school zones in 2012 or 2013. In 2012, Baltimore had 83 speed cameras monitoring motorists and generating millions of dollars in revenue. In 2013, Baltimore's speed cameras were turned off for all but about three weeks. They have not been turned on since.
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