Speed Cameras

So some clever Montgomery County, MD high schoolers have figured out you can prank friends and enemies alike by taping a high resolution image of their license plate over your own plate and intentionally flying past speeding cameras. Pretty clever.

Apparently, there’s a manual review process in place to ensure that tickets don’t get sent to the wrong people, but officials have other concerns as well.

“We have a three step process for review,” says Starks. “Our tech guys scan the pictures and look for anything suspicious. We also match the make and model of the car in the picture with the license plate. So the car in the picture may be a Ford, but the license plate matches up with a Toyota. People can also contest a ticket.”

Still, Montgomery County Council President Phil Andrews tells WTOP he is concerned about further stigmas against the speed camera program in the county.

“The main concern is maintaining the integrity of the program.”

Is this a joke? I mean, I’m not a constitutional law expert, but I’m pretty sure that minor detail about the presumption of innocence throws a wrench in the whole “integrity” argument for automated traffic enforcement. The purpose of laws are to govern people in a way that best benefits society, not raise revenue for local governments. Of course, I imagine some of these things are actually good for public safety (though I doubt it, a 2006 British report showed only 3 percent of accidents are the result of speeding), but cameras strictly enforcing a 30 MPH limit on a three-lane straightaway are pretty clearly of the revenue raising variety. I really wish County governments would just drop the pretense and raise taxes to make up for the difference.

UPDATE: Arguably more hilarious than the noble attempt to defend the integrity of speed traps, is as Mike points out, the fact that police blame the phenomenon on teh intertubes.

Police see this as another side-effect of the internet, and websites that allow you to do things like print a phony license plate.

Right, because it’s the internet that tickets people by photographic license plates.


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