Monday, November 29, 2010

Redspeed Camera Van Spontaneously Combusts

SBYNews is reporting that a speed camera van in the town of Fruitland spontaneously caught on fire on Saturday.  The incident is believed to be because of an electrical failure, not vandalism.  The speed camera van, owned by Redspeed, is apparently designed to automatically restart its engines when the batteries for the speed camera equipment begin to run low.

Fruitland awarded a 3 year contract for these cameras to a partnership between Brekford Corp and Redspeed according to a Brekford press release, however the partnership between the two companies was terminated earlier this year.  Now Redspeed provides the cameras and related services in exchange for a portion of the ticket revenues.  Fruitland's 'school zone' speed cameras were previously reported to be located outside the posted school zone, a fact confirmed to us by a resident in the area.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Maryland SafeZones Camera Van Caught Speeding

WBFF News Baltimore has reported on a Maryland 'Safe Zones' speed camera van caught traveling 80mph on I-70.  A motorist tailed the van and recorded a video clearly showing the van's 'safezones' insignia, and showed his speedometer reaching 80mph as he matched the van's speed.  Over the last year the Safe Zones vans have issued over 150,000 speeding citations at 5 work zones on interstate highways  I-695, I-95, and US 15.

In Montgomery County it had been previously reported that some police officers who received speed camera tickets had refused to pay the citations under the advice of their police union.

One might ask whether the state is really doing everything it can to gain voluntary compliance with speed limits, when its own law enforcement vehicles are setting the example of speeding?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Montgomery County's Top 5 Money Makers Revealed

ABC News 7 has revealed the 5 camera sites in Montgomery County grossing more revenue than any others in the county's program.  77,668 citations were reportedly issued by these 5 cameras, bringing in a total of $3.1million in revenue for a 12 month period ending in August.  The county's contractor, ACS State and Local Solution, received a $16.25 cut out of each citation, or $1,262,105 from these 5 cameras sites alone.

The top grossing camera, at 17700 Georgia Ave Northbound, is in a particularly ideal location.   The camera is place 0.1mile located a just few yards outside a posted school zone.  Montgomery County is uniquely permitted to have speed cameras outside school zones, and due to a loophole in the law the cameras posted outside school zones are permitted to operate on weekends whereas school zones cameras are not.  Yet the presence of the school zone close by still permits the county to claim the school as justification for having a camera enforcing the lower speed limit in this location even though they are not subject to the restrictions which come with that.  We previously documented the fact that according to the county's own report, as of June 2009 80% of camera sites located in Montgomery County were not located in designated school zones.

A similar situation applies to the camera at 13600 Darnestown Road, where a 40mph speed limit is dropped to 30mph and the camera placed 0.1mile down the road, and no posted school zone, a fact which we reported on shortly after that camera was installed.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cameras Voted Down in Five US Cities

TheNewspaper.com is reporting that five more US cities have rejected photo enforcement in municipal referendums.  Ballot measures on red light cameras were held in Houston and Baytown in Texas, and voters rejected the cameras in both cases despite massive spending to influence the vote by a camera company.  In Mukiteo, Washington a referendum was held on speed and red light cameras with 70% of voters choosing to place new restrictions limiting the use of cameras.  A camera company attempted unsuccessfully to block the Mukiteo referendum in court.  In Anaheim, California voters passed a charter amendment banning red light cameras.And in Garfield Height, Ohio voters passed a measure banning speed cameras, despite the camera contractor funding a PR effort supporting the cameras.

Photo enforcement has been placed to a direct popular vote in a total of 16 municipalities in the US and has been rejected by voters every one of those times.