Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Optotraffic Investigates Possible Camera Glitch

The contractor for most of the municipal speed camera programs in Prince George's County, Optotraffic/Sigma Space, is investigating a potential glitch which may have overestimated the speed of large vehicles. 

According to the Washington Examiner, a dozen violations involving buses and trucks where the vehicles were recorded traveling 25mph over the limit are considered suspect.  In one case the company Veolia Transportation received a citation from the town of Brentwood on August 20th with a July 28th violation date.  By the time the driver was notified the deadline for requesting a court hearing had already passed.  The driver of the bus was suspended without pay, enrolled in a three day "refresher" training course, and threatened with termination if she received another violation.

Rick Hilmer of Prince George's County Fleet management stated that they were receiving an average of 30 citations per day for county buses.  A spokesperson for the Prince George's county DPWT told the examiner that she doubted a bus could travel nearly 60mph on the road this driver was cited on. 

StopBigBrotherMD.org has occasionally been contacted by individuals who had been threatened with termination over speed camera citations received while driving company vehicles.  However we have been unable to publish information about those cases because the employees were afraid of reprisals.  Many nationwide companies have policies for disciplining employees for speeding tickets which do not distinguish speed camera citations which are sent out in vastly greater numbers, and with a far lower burden of proof, than human issued citations.

Brentwood earlier this year had to refund a large number of citations when it was discovered that they had been approved by a police officer who had been placed on municipal leave when his contract expired.  The town of Mount Rainier and Brentwood had apparently recently lowered the speed limit at the locations on Rhode Island Avenue by 10mph.

Optotraffic has deployed the same model of camera in Mount Rainier, Riverdale Park, New Carrollton, Cleverly, Forest Heights, and several other towns in Prince George's County.

Source: The Washington Examiner