Delegate Cardin to introduce speed camera legislation


BALTIMORE —Delegate Jon S. Cardin is calling the recent problem with speed cameras in Baltimore City a "breach of public trust."

He said he's sure the same thing is going on in other jurisdictions across the state and wants there to be some sort of accountability.

"Every single Marylander should know that when they get a ticket it's because they were speeding and not simply to get money," Cardin said.

In a news conference Monday, Cardin announced his plan to introduce legislation for every jurisdiction that has speed cameras to provide an audit report to the legislature with significant penalties for those that "violate public trust" in those audits.

"Specifically, I propose that for each bogus ticket that is discovered and confirmed the contractor and the jurisdiction will pay $1,000," Cardin said.

Cardin is also proposing an independent way for determining excessive speed.

Maryland law currently requires all speed camera tickets to include at least two time-stamped images of the vehicle, but the law does not say how detailed those time-stamps must be, which may make a difference in speed calculation.

"Courts are going to perhaps require that there be some better showing by the state. It's not really provided for under the law. It seems to be an unintended consequence -- you get a citation, and you're very limited in what you can present in your own defense," said defense attorney Irwin Kramer.

As Cardin's legislation works its way through the General Assembly, Kramer said he wonders what may become of the countless alleged speeders who already received and paid violations.

"When you look at all the Marylanders that may be affected and perhaps deprived of evidence that perhaps the speed camera was not accurate in their case, you're talking about potentially a lot of money," he said.

Drivers WBAL-TV 11 News spoke with said they feel the delegate is on the right track.

"I think they should do something about it. I think a lot of them aren't telling the right speed and whatever they can do. They should do," driver Bill Jones said.

"I've never been caught by a speed camera before but if they want to do it that way, then so be it. I'm a safe driver," driver Caleb Brooks said.

Baltimore's Department of Transportation said it continues to investigate reports of erroneous speed camera tickets.

The department released the following statement: "We appreciate that Delegate Cardin shares our goal of eliminating speed camera errors and we welcome any legislator to observe the mayor's task force of transportation and safety stakeholders that are conducting a comprehensive review of the entire program, including examining an audit of all camera locations."

WBAL-TV 11 News took a closer look at the state's bill concerning speed camera and noticed an amendment that was proposed which would have mandated weekly calibration of all cameras and created a penalty for tickets issued in error. Cardin voted no on this amendment.

In a phone call with WBAL-TV 11 News, Cardin said the reason he voted no was because he never supported the bill so he stayed out of the debate.