Thursday, June 7, 2012

Yet Another Baltimore City Speed Camera Error

WBFF News has reported on yet another speed camera error involving thousands of citations in the city of Baltimore.  Over three thousand citation issued between December and April of last year over a period of several months incorrectly stated the location of the violation.  The citations listed the address of a camera located approximately one mile from the site of the the camera near Ridgewood road on Wabash Avenue.  The citations had a total value of about $125,000 and are now void.

In March it was discovered that the city had issued 2000 citations from two cameras configured to the wrong speed limit.  At that time, city officials claimed that they had 'three tiers of review' to prevent errors, and that errors constitute only about 1% of citations issued.
In February 2011, WBALTV reported how 2000 red light camera violations had been 'signed' by a deceased Baltimore City Police officer.
In February 2011, we reported on a case where Baltimore issued an erroneous citation to the wrong vehicle.
 In February 2012 we reported on a case where a motorist was unable to obtain a hearing for a red light camera citation issued in Baltimore for a right turn which he believed was made legally.
 In January 2012, a case was reported of a citation which Baltimore issued a citation to a man who had been deceased for several years.
 And in April 2010 an incident was reported where Baltimore issued over 900 citations from yet another erroneously configured speed cameras, set to enforce the wrong speed limit.

Baltimore City was one of the jurisdictions who went to the General Assembly in 2012 arguing that the requirement that citations be reviewed by police should be removed, and that they should be allowed to hire private contractors to review citations, which is less expensive.  The legislation did not pass after motorist advocates argued this would remove a critical safeguard from the system.  The comedy of errors over a prolonged period of time involving thousands of citations makes it clear that more oversight, not less, is what is needed.  And perhaps that the City of Baltimore in particular requires adult supervision.

Update July 5, 2012:
Apparently the problem is not resolved.  WBFF has reported that two speed cameras at 1900 Kelly Avenue issued over 8000 citations between December 2011 and June, citing the incorrect direction the vehicles were traveling.  In this instance however, the city is claiming that the citations contain enough correct information, and have declined to refund the 8000 citations.  It is unclear how a judge would rule on the citations, were they appealed to court.