Reporting Meghan McCorkell
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City is now overhauling its speed camera system after inaccurate tickets caused drivers to pay fines when they weren’t speeding. State lawmakers are calling for some big changes.
Meghan McCorkell has more on new legislation that could have a big impact.
The state legislature is taking aim at speed cameras across the state, proposing a major overhaul to what some say is a flawed system.
Baltimore City speed cameras are now in the dark. The entire network was shut down after it was revealed some cameras were issuing tickets to drivers who weren’t speeding at all.
“I don’t know if all the tickets I got were accurate. I don’t think I drive that fast,” said Richard Hacker.
All 83 cameras may need to be replaced as the city switches contractors.
Now lawmakers in Annapolis are stepping in to make sure mistakes don’t happen again.
“Finding out that the system wasn’t working properly…people are really, really, really upset. They feel violated,’” said Delegate John Cardin.
Cardin proposes a bill that prevents jurisdictions from paying contractors for each ticket their cameras issue.
Some drivers agree.
“I think the whole sort of bounty system where the contractor is rewarded for more tickets almost guarantees inaccuracy,” said John Rogers.
“I really think it’s not fair and I think it’s just an underlying way for the city to make money freely on the citizen’s dollar,” said Tonya Anderson.
Under Cardin’s bill, speed camera operators would be fined $1,000 for every erroneous ticket issued. Those mistaken citations would include one issued to a minivan that was completely stopped.
“There should be clear ways for people to figure out if they were, in fact, violating the law,” Cardin said.
A law, he says, must be more about safety and less about the bottom line.
Cardin’s bill would also require a 30 day-notice period for drivers when a new speed camera is installed.
According to WJZ’s media partner, The Baltimore Sun, it could take up to four months for Baltimore City’s new contractor to replace all the speed cameras. That could cost the city more than $1 million in fines each month.