County to issue 1,400 speed camera ticket refunds

By Kerry Cavanaugh

ROGERS FORGE, Md.(WbalTV) —Baltimore County is recalling about 1,400 speed camera tickets after officials said about a dozen cameras were not recalibrated on time, which means affected drivers will get refunds.
Three dozen cameras are set up around the county to capture speeders. Anyone caught flying past one receives a $40 citation in the mail.

Ellen Kobler of the Baltimore County Executive’s Office said the cameras are routinely checked to ensure accuracy.

“People can be very confident of the reliability of these speed camera tickets because Baltimore County police calibrate every camera every day. Every citation is reviewed by a small staff of highly trained police officers,” she said.

Kobler said the cameras’ vendor, Xerox, also plays a role.

“We’re checking the calibration by an outside third-party vendor who confirms what we test every day,” she said.

But Kobler said Xerox missed the deadline for that screening earlier this year, meaning about a dozen cameras weren’t technically up to code while operating. As a result, the county said Xerox is paying $58,000 to cover the administrative cost of refunding 1,400 tickets issued between Feb. 16 and March 25, 2013.

The affected drivers are receiving refunds in the mail.

A speed camera on Stevenson Lane was a welcome addition to the Rodgers Forge neighborhood. Lifelong resident Debbie Lane said it’s helped slow things down, but there are still problems.

“There are just so many people you can catch speeding. I can guarantee this gentleman right here (points at car) is not going 30 mph — no way,” she told 11 News’ Kerry Cavanaugh. “It’s not right that there are so many people constantly ripping up and down the street and not paying attention.”

The refunds are triggering questions among firm speed camera supporters like Lane.

“You’re supposed to trust the system to hold up these cameras. They’re taking the place of the physical presence of the police officers. If they’re not doing their part, how are we supposed to know anything’s working correctly?” she questioned.

The county said the refund is an isolated incident, adding that its system uses different guidelines than Baltimore City, which suspended its speed camera program earlier this year amid questions of their accuracy.

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