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2/28/2008Maryland: Speed Cameras Placed on Safe Roads
Montgomery County, Maryland earns $7.5 million in revenue by placing speed cameras on safe roads.
Montgomery County, Maryland is placing speed cameras on roads that have no significant accident history. Instead, high-volume intersections have put the county's automated ticketing machines on track to bring in $7.5 million in annual ticket revenue. The first citations were issued last April.
WTTG-TV reported that many of the county's cameras were placed on roads that are, by the numbers, safe. Ten of the twenty-six photo enforcement locations chosen by the county were at the very bottom of the accident frequency list. Of these, seven sites did not see a single pedestrian accident in the year before enforcement began. Documents uncovered in a 2001 court case in San Diego, California explained that the private, for-profit company that operated the program recommended enforcement at locations that were safe but had specific engineering shortcomings that ensured a steady stream of violations. Montgomery County officials told WTTG that they have rejected engineering improvements because those cost money.
"If we did everything the way the engineers wanted it, I suspect there'd be a lot fewer cameras in the County," County Executive Isaiah Leggett said.
Maryland state lawmakers impressed by Montgomery County's financial success are currently considering legislation to authorize speed cameras statewide, including in freeway "work zones" where a single photo ticket could generate $2000 in revenue.
View a list of speed camera locations compared with the county's most dangerous roads in a 25k PDF format file.
Source: Speed Cameras: Safer Roads or Cheap Enforcement? (WTTG-TV (DC), 2/27/2008)
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