In the wake of many innocent drivers receiving speed camera tickets, there is a host of speed camera legislation that is being presented to the general assembly this year in both the House and the Senate.
No matter where you stand on the speed camera issue, I think it is fair to say that everyone is in agreement that law abiding drivers shouldn't be receiving tickets when they are within the law. It appears that the innacuracy of the speed camera program has been bad enough that some lawmakers are proposing a full repeal of the law, while others are proposing fixes such as to force the camera companies to provide video evidence (probably in response to cases like this: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-12-12/news/bs-md-speed-camera-stopped-car-20121212_1_potential-citation-xerox-state-camera-ticket ) or requiring the local authority to pay a fine back to the consumer if the consumer is found not guilty of the ticket and has to spend time defending themselves in court.
Another bill is requiring the admission of video evidence and requiring timestamps to the millisecond to be stamped on every photograph, therefore allowing the accused to calculate their own distance and time as proof of innocence if they are indeed innocent, or to verify guilt. Not all current camera programs have time stamps to the millisecond (most round to the nearest whole second) and not all court systems are allowing the photograph as evidence to exonerate the defendent, only as "secondary evidence that the vehicle was present and in motion."
Lastly, another law looks to strengthen the safety measure of cameras being in school zones and requiring them to be placed within 500 feet of school property rather than within the half-mile radius of a school zone which can allow a local authority to choose the busiest or most profitable road that is within a half-mile of a school zone (not school property). This would penalize and slow drivers where the children are located and not where the largest profit potential is located. Because the law was presented to the public as a safety measure and not a tax, this enhancement to the law would strengthen the original intent of the law.
If inclined, please contact the committee chairman/members or your representative to share with them what you feel about these bills and the law and explain to them how they can best represent your opinion on these matters, using the links below. Use your voice to speak out! I'd also encourage you to investigate this further on your own from other sources beyond this blog post.
Senate Bills: (paraphrased)
SB 785: Bill to REPEAL SPEED CAMERAS (Senators Pipkin, Colburn, and Jacobs)
SB 207: Requiring speed camera images to provide secondary evidence of speed; limiting the placement of speed monitoring systems in school zones to within 500 feet of school grounds; banning contingent fee contracts. (Senators Brochin, Klausmeier, Muse, Peters, and Zirkin)
SB 389: Would remove the requirement that police approve citations and would let private contractors approve speed camera tickets (Senators Raskin, Forehand, and Rosapepe)
House Bills: (paraphrased)
HB 251: Bill to REPEAL SPEED CAMERAS ( Delegates Smigiel, Frank, Haddaway-Riccio, Hershey, Jacobs, Krebs, W. Miller, Norman, O'Donnell, Oaks, Parrott, Ready, and Schuh )
HB 166: Require speed cameras to produce video evidence and to make this evidence available to defendants. (Delegates Cluster, Afzali, Beitzel, Boteler, Bromwell, Hershey, Kach, Krebs, McComas, McDermott, W. Miller, Smigiel, and Szeliga)
HB 421: Requiring speed camera images to provide secondary evidence of speed; limiting the placement of speed monitoring systems in school zones to within 500 feet of school grounds; banning contingent fee contracts; local speed camera programs would be fined by the state for issuing erroneous tickets (Delegates Cardin, Conaway, Morhaim, Oaks, and Otto);
HB 435: Local speed camera programs would need to pay defendants $40 in restitution if the are found not guilty in court (Delegate Howard)
Contact the chair and vice chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee:
Chair: Brian E. Frosh: 301-858-3124; Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3124; firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice Chair: Lisa A. Gladden: 410-841-3697; Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3697.
Contact the chair and vice chair of the House Environmental Matters Committee:
Chair: Maggie McIntosh (D, Baltimore City): email@example.com, (410) 841-3990; 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3990 (toll free).
Vice Chair: James E. Malone, Jr. (D, Baltimore & Howard Counties): firstname.lastname@example.org, (410) 841-3378;
1-800-492-7122 ext. 3378.
Please also contact the other members of the Judicial Proceedings Committee:
And the other members of the Environmental Matters Committee:
Find your own lawmakers as well:
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
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