Friday, June 7, 2013

SHA Cameras Spread To Maryland Panhandle

The SHA will begin deploying speed cameras on I-68 in Cumberland in an area east of Kelly Road.  The cameras will ticket motorists in a highway workzone on the interstate highway "regardless of whether workers are present" according to the wording of state law.  I-68 is a major interstate route between Maryland and points west including West Virginia.  This marks the farthest point west where the SHA has deployed speed cameras.  It is now safe to say that speed cameras are being used in almost every corner of the state.

 The SafeZones program was criticized last year in a scathing audit by the department of Legislative Services which cited issues with the calibration procedures and testing of equipment, violations of procurement policies, and high rates of discarded citations due to hardware problems.

The SHA and Maryland State Police run the SafeZones program under a contract with Xerox Corporation (formerly known as ACS State and Local Solutions).  This is the same contractor who formerly ran Baltimore City's program which was discovered last year to have systematically issued erroneous citations to innocent motoristsincluding even completely stationary vehicles (Baltimore has since changed contractors).  Unlike Baltimore City, citations images from the SafeZones program have timestamps that are rounded off to the nearest second, ensuring that it is impossible for anyone to perform the type of photographic analysis on citations necessary to prove speed measurement errors after the fact as was done in Baltimore.  The SHA claims such verification is unnecessary in their case because their speed cameras are certified every year by the same company which certified Baltimore City's faulty speed cameras to be accurate.