Speed camera reform bills introduced in Annapolis

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The speed camera debate continues Tuesday in Annapolis.

The House Environmental Matters Committee will hear testimony on multiple bills on working to improve the speed camera systems in place as well as hold operators and jurisdictions accountable when tickets are erroneously given to motorists.

Among the bills being introduced is one co-sponsored by Del. James Malone (D-Baltimore County) and Del. Herb McMillan (R-Anne Arundel).

Among the key points of the bill are:

  • Fining operators at least 50 percent of the fine amount if more than five percent of the violations in a calendar year are erroneous.
  • Prohibit contractors from receiving their fee on a per-ticket basis.
  • Applying notice and signage standards for unmanned local stationary speed monitoring systems to all local speed monitoring systems.
  • Requiring local jurisdictions to designate specified persons to act in a liaison capacity

The Maryland Association of Counties, the Maryland Municipal League, and AAA Mid-Atlantic are among the organizations that support the measure.

“Having a system that operates accurately and one that is safety and not revenue focused is critical to the integrity of automated enforcement systems,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson Regina Cooper-Averella in a statement. “House Bill 929 goes a long way to address many of these concerns and we commend Delegates Malone and McMillan for their continued leadership on this serious matter.”

Another bill was introduced by Del. Jon Cardin. The Baltimore County Democrat, who is running for attorney general, suggests that speed camera operating systems be suspended until the operators can be held accountable.

In addition, Cardin’s bill would allow for speed camera operators to be fined $1,000 for each erroneous ticket issued that is overturned in court. The bill would also implement a verifiable double time stamped imaging system for each ticket to allow a driver can test the accuracy of their alleged infraction.

Finally, organizations representing the interests of motorists such as AAA could sue a jurisdiction on behalf of their constituency for speed camera abuses.

“Last year, when we thought error rates were in the single digits, the citizens of Maryland rightfully responded with outrage at being ripped off,” said Cardin in a statement. “Now that we know error rates in Baltimore City were actually over 10 percent, it is time to seriously evaluate the future of these programs statewide.”

 

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