Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Speeding Ticket for Standing Still?

Boy, they're strict with the speeding tickets in Baltimore.

A man there got a speeding ticket generated by one of those traffic light cameras. It said he was going 38 mph in a 25 mph zone. But the accompanying video shows the man was in his vehicle, stopped at a red light, doing a whopping 0 mph when he was supposedly speeding, according to NPR and other news outlets.
A safety feature? Revenue generator? Both?

This gets my conspiratorial juices flowing, especially since there's been other media reports that the cameras attached to traffic lights are often inaccurate. Deliberately or accidentally is unknown, and probably depends on the eyes of the beholder.

The whole thing begs the question: Are the red light cameras for public safety, to discourage dangerous speeders, or are they just an excuse to generate revenue? After all, many people. especially out of towners, don't want to spend, say, $500 battling a $200 traffic ticket.

Maybe some red light cameras are a "visitor's tax," you know, you've got to find the revenue where you can, right?

The lobbying group National Motorists Association opposed red light cameras for a variety of reasons, including the possibility of them being inaccurate, that they might correctly identify the driver of the offending cars, and there's not much accountability.

The Baltimore Sun yesterday editorialized that the city should shut off its red light cameras, in light of the stationary speeder and that the cameras often have a 5 percent error rate.

We'll see how all this plays out.

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