Speed camera malfunctions
Baltimore City will continue the use of a “bounty system” when issuing speed camera citations, in which a portion of every ticket goes to the corporation that sponsors the speed camera technology.
Baltimore plans to pay the new contractor, Brekford Corp. of Hanover, Md. $11.20 per every $40 ticket, while the previous contractor, Xerox State and Local Solutions, was paid $19.20 for each $40 ticket issued. Officials implemented the change to generate more money for the city.Many Towson students encounter speed cameras in Baltimore and some say they feel that the bounty system allows for more citations to be issued.
Other students think that speed cameras are important, whether a bounty system is in place or not.
“There are pros and cons for having [speed cameras],” junior Malik Bob, who said he was caught by speed cameras twice. “Pros are reduced speed, heightening the chances of survival after an accident, more cautious drivers and more money for the county which betters the community.”
The cameras can cause possible mechanical errors, which is a con, Bob said. A recent investigation by the Baltimore Sun uncovered inaccuracies in the speed camera system that resulted in numerous erroneous tickets being issued.
Baltimore City said that they will replace the entire camera systems with newer models to eliminate malfunctions. Dondre Lawson said he has changed his route from Reisterstown, Md. to Towson to avoid the three or four speed cameras he encounters on his normal commute.
“I believe the state and only the state should be paid to enforce the speed cameras and not private vendors when the equipment is faulty and doesn’t work,” he said. “I understand putting the cameras here to make people slow down so that less accidents occur and road rage is stopped. But if you are going to pay private vendors, make sure your equipment is good before you install it on the highway.”
From 2009 until Dec. 31 2012, Xerox accrued about $13 million through speed camera citations. Xerox said that the money played no role in the amount of tickets that they issued.
Some students disagree. “Money has to play a role,” Kharod sad. “The money isn’t even going to the county so it’s not helping us at all.”
Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a Baltimore Sun article that the bounty system is illegal, although the city Department of Transportation says otherwise. David Kelley, president of the National Coalition for Safer Roads, said to the Sun that there has been a shift to flat-fee contracts nationally, rather than the bounty system.
Kelley said that the model Baltimore City inspires mistrust against speed camera programs, and makes residents feel that officials are just trying to make money off them.