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City And State Lawmakers Under Pressure To Investigate Speed Cameras

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Many folks were skeptical before the city even installed speed cameras.

As Derek Valcourt reports, now that there are reports of problems, some lawmakers want to guarantee the cameras are fair and accurate for everyone.

Reports of malfunctioning speed cameras doling out tickets to drivers who don’t deserve them have raised doubts.

“The evidence is there that they are not accurate right now,” said one resident.

“I would say I probably don’t trust them,” said another.

The evidence of the speed camera problems came from an investigation by WJZ’s media partner, The Baltimore Sun, that discovered inaccuracies with a handful of the city’s 83 speed cameras.

One speed camera on Cold Spring Lane near Falls Road has nabbed 11,000 speeders, but some tickets had to be voided after the camera had recorded the wrong speeds.

The city Department of Transportation said they’re working with the company that operates these cameras to conduct a rigorous investigation into the problem. The City Council announced they’ll hold hearings on the matter as well.

“The commitment from me and my administration is to have a camera program with zero percent errors,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

The mayor told WJZ the cameras are making school zones safer.

Speed violations dropped by 80 percent between May 2010 and September 2011. The average speed of drivers also went down at 44 of 48 fixed camera locations.

But how many camera tickets have been wrong may be impossible to tell because for many drivers it’s easier to simply pay up.

“You have to go spend your entire day fighting it,” said a frustrated resident, “It’s just too much of a hassle, so they’ve found a way to get some more money out of the people of Baltimore and it’s a bit of a shame.”

Among the concerned lawmakers is delegate Jon Cardin. He’s holding a news conference Monday to talk about problems and potential solutions.

Despite recent problems, city officials said the speed camera program has an error rate of less than one-quarter of one percent.

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