No tickets from city speeding cameras

BALTIMORE (WMAR) -  

Baltimore City's speed cameras are not dishing out any speeding tickets, and it's not clear when they'll start again.

This has to do with the change to a new vendor for the city's cameras.  The contract started on January 1 st, but the cameras have not been collecting anything in the first three weeks of the year.

The city's Department of Transportation is working with its new vendor, the Brekford Corporation -- after it was revealed that several cameras under the previous contractor were responsible for bogus speeding tickets.

They are in the process of replacing the cameras.  "This process will require cameras to be temporarily taken offline until the new systems are properly calibrated and working accurately and effectively," said Department of Transportation spokeswoman Adrienne Barnes.

Meanwhile, legislators in Annapolis are talking about ways to restore trust in the city's speed camera program.

Many of them say the problem stems from the way the city's vendor is paid.  Assuming Brekford can get the cameras up and running again, the city would pay the company a percentage of each ticket issued.

That breeds distrust, says Del. Jon Cardin (D-Baltimore County).  "They get that for each ticket, they're going to try and maximize the number of tickets they can get. So regardless of whether they're doing the best job they can, there's going to be a perception if you have a bounty system," he said.

Del. Cardin plans to introduce his bill this week.  It would fine the vendor $1,000 for any erroneous ticket that's issued, and change the payment system from the so-called "bounty," to a flat rate.

"We certainly want vendors to be able to make a living, but they should not be getting a windfall based on commission," he said.

There are other speed camera bills that will be discussed in Annapolis; it will be several weeks before it's determined which elements of any of those bills survive the legislative process.

The city's Department of Transportation says it does not plan to reveal when the cameras might come back on, they say, in the interest of public safety

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