Baltimore doubling down on speed cameras

Speed limit

Traffic cameras are enforcing speed limits in Baltimore - but the city is the one paying up. Image: Flickr / scottiet812 / CC-BY-SA

In Baltimore, Maryland, city lawmakers are considering adding more speed cameras. These automated speed traps have been reducing speeding but not accidents. Even if the city does add more tickets, these cameras are not making money for the city.

Baltimore speed cameras

In Baltimore, Md., the city council set up several speed traps in “high risk” areas such as school zones. The tickets issued by these speeding cameras are usually about $40 and are officially issued by the city of Baltimore. The police have found that these cameras are reducing the amount of speeding by half or more, but the amount of collisions has not been going down.

Baltimore’s speed cameras

The speed cameras planted in high-risk areas of Baltimore have been issuing tickets for several months. The City of Baltimore, however, is not seeing much of the money from the tickets. The speed cameras are more like payday loans to the city. Sure, the city gets money, but it also has to pay out most of the money received. The cameras that track and record speeders are owned, monitored and operated by a private company, and $32 of every $40 ticket is paid to the private contractor. The city has to pay for the installation of the cameras, and has actually lost money on the deal thus far. Despite the fact the cameras lose money, the city is considering taking a short-term loan to install even more cameras.

Turning police work over to private contractors

Baltimore is not the only city paying private companies to take over their work. Legally, these traffic enforcement cameras are facing difficult times. A defendant’s right to face their accuser has been cited multiple times by drivers who have been ticketed by a camera or automated system, and many tickets have been overturned. In general, the fact that most people don’t fight their traffic tickets means that private companies are making millions of dollars by doing a city’s police work for them.


Wikipedia – Traffic Enforcement Camera