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Reporting Derek Valcourt
Filed underLocal, News
Related tagsBaltimore, Baltimore City Council, Jack Young, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Speed Cameras
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Problems with speed cameras have caught the eye of state lawmakers.
Derek Valcourt has the latest black eye for the program.
Before city speed cameras were even installed, residents were skeptical about them. Now that some cameras are having problems, there is growing pressure on lawmakers to make sure they are fair and accurate.
One speed camera on Cold Spring Lane near Falls Road has recorded 11,000 speeders, but after a handful of challenges some tickets were voided because the camera was recording inaccurate speeds.
The City Council is planning to hold hearings on the growing problems.
“The camera is having some kind of glitch. That we were told, but what kind we really don’t know,” said Council President Jack Young.
An investigation by our media partner, The Baltimore Sun, also found problems with at least two other cameras.
With looming questions about the cameras’ reliability, most drivers no longer trust them.
“The evidence is there that they are not accurate right now,” said one resident.
“They say you are doing something wrong and all you can do is take their word for it. You can’t fight them,” said another.
The city Department of Transportation says they are working with the camera vendors and continuing a rigorous investigation.
In fiscal year 2012, drivers paid more than $19 million in fines, $4 million more than projected.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake assembled a task force to look into the cameras well before the errors became public. She tells WJZ the cameras are making streets safer.
Speed violations dropped by 80 percent between May of 2010 and September of 2011. The average speed of drivers also went down at 44 of 48 fixed camera locations, meaning school zones are now slower.
Delegate Jon Cardin has his own concerns about the speed camera program. He’s holding a press conference Monday to talk about it.
Despite these problems, city officials say the speed camera program has an error rate of less than one-quarter of one percent.