After my post from a couple of days ago, it has become apparent that some people think that speed cameras are a good idea, saying that they don’t speed, and are tired of people who do. It’s cute that those people think that speed cameras have anything to do with traffic safety or actual speeding.

In Baltimore, a speed camera issued a speeding ticket to a stationary car. The real story here isn’t that one car was erroneously ticketed. No, the real story is the fact that Baltimore’s 164 cameras have issued $48 million in tickets over the last three years. If the amount of the ticket, $40, is typical, this means that 400,000 tickets a year are issued by those 164 cameras: roughly 2400 tickets for each camera. The officers that review the pictures before a ticket is issued review and issue 1200 tickets per day. On an 8 hour workday, that leaves just 24 seconds for each picture to be reviewed and a citation issued. In other words, this is nothing but a revenue generator with few safeguards or oversight.

Officials in Heath, Ohio installed 2 speed cameras to watch for excessive speed on Route 79, an area that had seen only one crash in the previous two years. Those two cameras alone accounted for 5,000 traffic citations in just 4 weeks.

Since it was such a money maker, ten more cameras were installed to watch intersections in town and look for red light runners. Those ten cameras were responsible for 5,000 more tickets their first month. At those intersections, light runners had been responsible for only 16 traffic accidents over the previous two years.

In all, the traffic tickets will cost the drivers in the area more than $12,000,000 in fines each year, of which the city will keep $10,00,000.

Then there was the Long Island traffic cameras that were responsible for $2.4 million in School Zone speeding tickets during the summer, when there was no school in session.

The big winner here is actually the private company that installs and runs the cameras. They frequently are involved in kickback schemes.

Miami, Washington, DC, and half a dozen other cities have been involved in this fleecing of the public. No oversight, with a private company running the camera while giving some of the take back to the city.


joe · February 4, 2022 at 5:30 am

it takes a “criminal” act and turns out in to a civil issue where you can’t really face your accuser…. they safe it’s for safety but we all know it’s a cash cow for them

Miguel GFZ · February 4, 2022 at 7:32 am

The way to beat not the cameras but the local government about cameras is to exaggeratingly law abiding to the point that no or very little money is generated and traffic becomes a pain. Some of the most annoying and productive tickets are when you are doing a right turn on red, stop doing that and wait for the light.
The dirty secret is that the deal between red camera companies and local governments is that they are RENTING the equipment. The local government must pay the camera company no matter if they get or do not get tickets. If cameras are not generating income, a hefty check has to come out of the coffers and usually that has not been budgeted.
Add to that the usual court challenges (go to court and demand to see face the accuser, is a favorite way to dismiss the charges) and make sure the cameras are truly calibrated help make the whole thing such a painful nuisance for politicians they will eventually reconsider and drop the cameras. Also lobby to pass legislation at state level to control the use and abuse of the cameras.

    joe · February 4, 2022 at 7:57 am

    it was near impossible to fight them when they had them here in tx… that’s why they made it a civil process and not criminal…

Don Shift · February 4, 2022 at 9:38 am

As a traffic cop, I HATE enforcement cameras. Just wrong. And I’m a hard ass too.

Don Curton · February 4, 2022 at 9:40 am

Don’t ever forget that there are lots of documented cases that in intersections where they installed red light cameras, they intentionally shortened the yellow time in order to catch more people. The have also intentionally changed light times to increase traffic density knowing that will encourage people to run a “pink” light. This has nothing to do with safety, only profit.

Toastrider · February 4, 2022 at 10:32 am

Krylon spray paint is cheap.

Just sayin’.

greg · February 4, 2022 at 10:57 am

Last speeding ticket I got added about 10 bucks a month to my car insurance for 60 months. Insult to injury.

    Divemedic · February 4, 2022 at 11:07 am

    That is why insurance companies often donate radar guns to police departments.

    Toastrider · February 5, 2022 at 8:21 am

    There was a case like that in Oregon, and an engineer actually presented findings that there was something wrong with the light timing that would make the interval in violation of state law.

    So he was cited for practicing engineering without a license, of course.

Bert · February 4, 2022 at 12:32 pm

Such easily distracted beings.
Camera is a tool, just like the fool with the badge. Focus on the root cause, which would be???

T Town · February 4, 2022 at 12:49 pm

Don’t overlook the benefit to the government of adding to their surveillance capabilities. What you see on TV shows like NCIS Los Angeles where they track a suspect’s movement through the use of traffic cameras will become more of a reality, even in smaller towns. It would make it much easier for them to enforce any more lock downs they may decide to impose in the future.

Skyler the Weird · February 4, 2022 at 5:35 pm

Traffic Camera are Racist. Studies have shown time and again these cameras disproportionately catch motorists ‘driving while black’.

KurtP · February 4, 2022 at 9:27 pm

I was coming back to the depot in Hondo, TX with an empty semi tank trailer- in a misty rain that made roads slick.
This guy in front of me saw the light change from green to yellow and slammed on his brakes- and almost slid int to the intersection- instead of going through.

I “know” he got a red light ticket somewhere- and my empty trailer was riding the curb as I was hoping I didn’t rear-end him in the middle lane…. because I expected him to go through since he had the time

Beans · February 5, 2022 at 2:08 am

I wonder how hardened those cameras are to laser light? Not that I would ever do such a dastardly thing, but…

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