Reporting Derek Valcourt
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A state lawmaker proposes punishing speed camera companies for the giving out of bogus tickets after reports of camera glitches at a handful of Baltimore City cameras. One of the questionable cameras is along Cold Spring Lane.
Derek Valcourt explains what Del. Jon Cardin thinks the state ought to do.
What he says is pretty simple. If a speed camera catches you legitimately speeding, you get the fine. But if there’s something wrong with one of these cameras, it’s the speed camera company that needs to pay up.
You can find speed cameras just about anywhere. But good luck finding someone who trusts the speed camera’s accuracy.
“I have no faith in the speed cameras at all,” one woman said.
“No,” one man said.
“No, I do not,” said another.
That trust was breached after audits and an investigation by WJZ’s media partner the Baltimore Sun found a handful of city-operated cameras experienced glitches that caused the cameras to record the wrong speeds or produce inaccurate tickets.
Tickets many drivers say they simply accepted.
“So rather than go and contest it, I just paid it. I didn’t have time to go and contest it. So, no, I don’t trust them at all,” said Wafa Sturdivant, driver.
Neither does Baltimore County Del. Cardin. In response to complaints about speed camera accuracy, he proposes each county be required to audit their speed camera system for errors, holding contractors accountable. He says each inaccurate ticket should result in a $1,000 fine.
He says all county speed camera tickets should contain proof of the violation like the two-time stamped photographs already included in Baltimore City speed camera tickets.
“I don’t care who the contractor is. Each contractor needs to make sure that what they are doing is, in fact, a legitimate system of monitoring the speed,” Cardin said.
Fines sound like a great idea to many drivers, who think the cameras appear to be more about profit than safety.
“Just like we’re accountable at work every day or held to a standard that we should be producing our work correctly, I think they should be held to the same standard,” one man said.
Cardin says he’s now going to begin drafting his legislation, and he’s looking for co-sponsors.
Despite the recent problems, city leaders say the speed camera program has an error rate of less than one-quarter of one percent.