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.