Maryland lawmaker pursues big changes to state's speed camera rules

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 12/13/2012

A Maryland state lawmaker wants to help ensure that motorists and truckers aren’t ticketed unfairly by automated enforcement cameras used around the state.

In 2009, Maryland adopted a law allowing speed cameras to be posted in highway construction zones where the speed limit is at least 45 mph. The enforcement tool is also authorized in school zones.

Since the automated ticketing machines were posted in the city of Baltimore about $40 million has been raised from 1.6 million tickets issued. However, a recent Baltimore Sun report found inaccuracies with five of the city’s 83 speed cameras. Specifically, there was no way to verify the alleged speeds printed on tickets.

Delegate Jon Cardin, D-Baltimore, wants to eliminate, or at least reduce, possible "bogus" tickets. He is working on a bill that would penalize speed camera companies and local governments $1,000 each for false violations.

“Every single Marylander should know that when they get a ticket it was because they were speeding not simply to get money from them,” Cardin said at a street-side news conference in downtown Baltimore. “There needs to be significant penalties to all parties that violate the public trust.”

Other changes sought by Cardin include regular audits of ticket cameras and time stamps to be included on tickets mailed to vehicle owners. Another change would reduce the amount of time each day that school zone cameras are activated to school hours only.

One more proposed fix is to prevent camera companies from benefiting from each ticket issued.

Cardin said the changes are needed to show residents that the cameras are not a money grab.

“This is not about raising revenue. It is not about closing the budget gap. This is about keeping Marylanders safe.”

Any efforts to address concerns about ticket cameras can be considered during the session that begins next month.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Maryland, click here.

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