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Maryland appeals court says police aren’t above traffic laws

Traffic cameras have inspired debate throughout the country about whether they are effective tools of law enforcement or sneaky ways to make money. In Maryland, however, the debate took on a different focus about who has to pay for traffic violations caught by the cameras.

According to The Washington Examiner, the question was taken all the way up to the Maryland Court of Appeals, and the court recently made its decision. To put it simply, the court ruled that police officers have to abide by the same traffic laws as ordinary citizens.

The case came up because four Maryland police officers were issued traffic tickets when cameras caught them speeding and the officers were not forced to pay fines. In its first run in court, a Montgomery County judge decided that the officers shouldn’t have to pay their tickets.

The ruling left many in the county feeling disappointed in the hypocrisy of traffic cameras. Everyone but police has to follow traffic laws? Is that fair? Is that safe? Sources report that two of the initially-forgiven traffic tickets were issued when officers were driving twice as fast as the posted speed limit. And the officers weren’t speeding for work-related purposes.

Based on the Maryland Court of Appeals’ recent ruling, such facts of the case proved how important it is for all, including officers, to be held accountable for their traffic violations in order to keep the roads safe. The court decided that it is an invalid argument that police officers don’t have to pay for breaking traffic laws. From now on, they have to pay the $40 fine for speeding when caught on camera, unless they were responding to a work-related emergency.

Source

The Washington Examiner: “Md. appeals court: Cops must pay speed camera tickets,” Brian Hughes, 31 Jan. 2011

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