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Despite changes, Baltimore's speed cameras remain error prone

Over the last few months, much attention has been paid to the accuracy of speed cameras used in the Baltimore area. Since cameras were installed in Maryland to issue speeding tickets without needing an officer present, a number of calibration issues have resulted in wrongful traffic citations.

In addition to accuracy issues, critics of these cameras have pointed to a "bounty system" set up with the contractors who operate the speed cameras. Under this scheme, the contractors are paid based on the amount of tickets issued, which could provide incentive to issue tickets unnecessarily. Accordingly, some Maryland lawmakers have sought to prohibit this type of system.

Responding to these well-founded concerns, Baltimore officials have decided to install new speed cameras throughout the city. These cameras are supposed to be more accurate, which would supposedly reduce the number of unfair citations. However, those who are familiar with radar technology say that this technology is still error prone and will not eliminate the problems.

Despite the claims and hopes that the new cameras will significantly reduce the number of traffic citations issued in error, it's still important for those who are cited by a camera to make sure that the charges are accurate.

For many Maryland residents, inaccurately receiving speeding ticket is much more than a short-term financial inconvenience. Not only can a speeding ticket include a fine and higher insurance rates, but it could put commercial drivers at risk of losing licensure and their job. When a person has reason to believe they are incorrectly cited for a traffic violation captured on camera, it may be beneficial to carefully analyze the evidence and considering disputing the charges.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "New speed cameras won't eliminate errors, radar experts say," Scott Calvert and Luke Broadwater, Feb. 17, 2013

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