The debate over automatic cameras for speed and red light enforcement is already fairly intense, but a secret audit from 2012 of the traffic cameras in Baltimore, MD should heat things up a bit. In an audit of the city's 83 speed cameras, The Baltimore Sun is reporting that 13 had a double digit error rate, which helps account for a system-wide error rate of 10 percent. Of course, the secret part of this secret audit was that the findings were never released to the public.

City officials originally said that the cameras had an error rate of less than a quarter of a percent, but the audit found that most were not only off, they were way off – three specific locations in the city had error rates that varied from 35 to 58 percent. As the article points out, a total of 700,000 tickets were issued in fiscal year 2012 averaging $40, and a 10 percent error rate would mean that close to $2.8 million in fines were collected erroneously.

Baltimore first started using speed cameras in 2009 and fired the initial monitoring company, Xerox State and Local Solutions, due to accuracy issues. The subsequent company, Brekford Corp., was fired last month after the city's cameras were shut down in April. It's not clear if Baltimore plans to reimburse those wrongly charged with automated speeding tickets, but the city has already agreed to settle with Xerox (to the tune of $2.3 million) for unpaid invoices not to mention the $278,000 paid out to the auditing agency.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 57 Comments
      Dark Gnat
      • 11 Months Ago
      All traffic cameras should be destroyed. People are all pissed about the NSA wiretapping and reading emails, but being under video surveillance is just as bad. The Police State is a reality, and nothing is going to change unless people voice their opinions.
      SloopJohnB
      • 11 Months Ago
      Time for a class action suit.
      Patrick
      • 11 Months Ago
      Nope, the wrongly accused won't receive sh^*. That money has probably already been spent.
      jebibudala
      • 11 Months Ago
      Traffic cameras are god aweful eyesores to any town.
      G G
      • 11 Months Ago
      Anyone who has been to traffic court knows that the judge and the bailiff (the fat cop who cant really be a real cop) are going to treat Daniel (the guy who got a speeding ticket while sitting at a red light) like a piece of crap. He SHOULD be able to sue the city for thousands in damages and it should come out of traffic courts pockets, eat a piece of their own humble pie. They treat everyone like they belong in jail if you contest even a simple speeding ticket. Its probably the biggest collection of power tripping ******** in the US judicial system.
      Cool Disco Dan
      • 11 Months Ago
      One of many reasons I avoid that chit hole city.
      Michaele
      • 11 Months Ago
      A good friend of mine got nailed by one of these cameras in Baltimore in 2012. I laughed at him when he said he was almost standing still though the citation said he was 18 mph over the limit. I've just called and apologized. Now he laughed
      Eric
      • 11 Months Ago
      Funny they settled with the company resonsible before considering settling with the taxpayers. That $40 means a lot more to a poor person struggling than the $2.x million means to a corporation. Not to mention the corporation was screwing up the job anyway.
      Vien Huynh
      • 11 Months Ago
      MD is full of speed cameras.... Now that think back about it... I prob got screwed with the citation before too... I always drive like 5 mph above speed limit but i got a citation saying I drive 15 mph above...
        Neez
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Vien Huynh
        50% error only puts you at 7.5mph over, where did the other 7.5mph come from??
          Vien Huynh
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Neez
          no idea.
          cartarded
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Neez
          its not a % of how over the speed limit. its a % error of the actual speed. Thus if he is driving 40 mph in a 35 mph zone and the speed camera erroneously reads 35% above then it would read his speed as 54 mph
      Avinash Machado
      • 11 Months Ago
      Disgraceful.
      Larry Litmanen
      • 11 Months Ago
      Many people do speed, these cameras do have a purpose, so the best thing is to fix the software, not to remove them. Plus these cameras should be all over the bad neighborhoods, they can be used to film drug dealing and such activity.
        Remoulade
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Larry Litmanen
        yea just gloss over the 2.8 million dollars the city stole from its residents lol -- straight to the drugs... wire fan much?
        Jim R
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Larry Litmanen
        You're right, they do have a purpose--collecting extra cash for the city.
        Ben Lee
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Larry Litmanen
        Thats why we have actual cops for. God forbid if they have to actually do something semi dangerous.
        Chris O.
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Larry Litmanen
        @Larry: You really remind me of one of those people that think that needing to carry proof of citizenship, or requiring others to submit to stop-and-frisk, are good ideas. Cameras should be all over the "bad" neighborhoods? I would imagine that people like you would be the ones to make that determination, right? It may surprise you to know that crimes are committed everywhere. Even in nice neighborhoods. Implementing a constant monitoring system that discriminates based on socio-economic grounds is unjust, at best.... racist, at worst. I'm assuming that you really haven't travelled abroad. If you had (and I don't just mean resort destinations), you might already understand how oppressive and socially damaging living in a quasi-police state can be. Even seeing the change in London, pre- and post-CCTV, is pretty eye-opening... and I have yet to speak to anyone there that thinks that their quality of life has been positively affected by its use.
          SloopJohnB
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Chris O.
          London? LOL…it's freer than you can imagine Baltimore or Souf-Eas or Chicago SouthSide or Harlem or Watts or East St. Louis….. If that is what it would take to clean up the aforementioned cesspools, right on!!! From what I know the people in these neighborhoods would love to see an objective overlook..the police response time is dismal…essentially they come to pick up the bodies and canvas the hood…a hood that no one sees anything, or says anything for fear of local gangbanger reprisal.
        Firefly
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Larry Litmanen
        Define "bad neighbourhood"...(before I accuse you of being a bigot...)
        rcmw.boys
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Larry Litmanen
        Baltimore already has an inumerable amount 'Blue Light' Cameras extremely visible that do the job. Then again, you need one person for every camera if you want to catch the filth that transpires. Baltimore is disguting, full af abandonment and filth, fortunately I just work there.
        Sean Conrad
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Larry Litmanen
        And if someone demands their constitutional right to face their accuser?
      Jim R
      • 11 Months Ago
      Surprise! Traffic cameras aren't about safety, they're about REVENUE! I wonder if the citizens will get that $2.8 million back? No? HOW UNEXPECTED.
    • Load More Comments