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Judge adds to jurisdictions’ speed-camera dilemmas
Judge Ruehlman said the town did not put up required notice as to the placement of the cameras and objected to the fact that a motorist challenging the $105 citation had to pay a $25 administrative fee with no guarantee the fee would be returned if the appeal were successful. The judge said police department employees who have no personal knowledge of the violation appear as witnesses at appeals hearings, and he also questioned a requirement that a vehicle owner not operating the vehicle at the time of the infraction was forced to name the driver — a situation that could lead, for example, to a husband being forced to provide testimony against his wife.
The Elmwood Place camera that was the subject of the ruling issued about 115 tickets per day, which the judge noted was about $362,250 per month and about $2 million over six months. The town was entitled to 60 percent of the money, while the company that monitored and calibrated the equipment, Lanham-based Optotraffic LLC, collected 40 percent.
Optotraffic is the same company that operated the camera system in the Prince George’s County town of Cheverly until August, when town officials complained about inaccurate readings that included a camera catching a bicycle going 57 mph, another bike going 38 mph and an “invisible vehicle” traveling 76 mph.
Cheverly officials were not alone in their complaints about Optotraffic equipment.
Motorists and AAA Mid-Atlantic also have said the company’s devices sometimes measure inaccurate speeds and are inferior to those used by other vendors. The company provides and operates speed-monitoring devices for more than a dozen Prince George’s municipalities and for the county, which started its speed-camera program in September.
The company insisted its cameras were reliable and said the complaints by town personnel were simply a result of their “lack of understanding” of the equipment.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Matthew Cella is The Washington Times’ Metro editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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