Why Police Are Refunding Millions in Speeding Tickets
Red-light and speeding cameras making mistakes
Metro D.C. police has issued 7,000 speeding tickets adding up to more than $1.2 million since November from speed cameras in the Third Street tunnel in Northwest D.C. The posted speed limit in the tunnel, which is under construction, has been 40 mph but the posted speed limit in the issuance of citations was 45 mph. The way the municipal regulations are written, the tickets will likely be invalidated, according to The Washington Times.
D.C. brought in more than $55 million in automated enforcement fines last year, reported the Times, boosted by an increase of fines such as the ones levied from the Third Street Tunnel by 150 percent. In the first five months of the year, DC issued $40.3 million, putting it on pace to far out-perform last year's tally.
In nearby Baltimore, Md., the city just voided more than 3,000 speeding tickets that were incorrectly processed between December and April from a fixed speed camera on Wabash Avenue, one of 75 in the city. That camera nailed 3,145 drivers going 12 mph or more over the speed limit. The tickets that were issued incorrectly cited the drivers' locations because of faulty programming in the camera. With the wrong location cited, the tickets were invalidated.
Speed and red-light cameras are highly controversial. Most cities employ cameras provided by third party companies that supply them for free, but take a percentage of the ticket revenue. That gives those third party companies a profit incentive to program the cameras with police to capture the greatest amount of ticket revenue.
Cities beset with falling tax revenues, high unemployment or cut-off federal funding have been turning to cameras to generate more moving violation revenues. But concerned and fed-up citizens are challenging the cameras more and more to try and discover instances of mis-programmed cameras that could result in big refunds.
According to the National Motorists Association, the worst state in the country for handing out speeding tickets is Nevada, followed by Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Maryland – where more three thousand lucky drivers are getting refunds.
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