Drivers Beware: Speed Cameras Up and Running
February 25, 2010 2 Comments
Two speed cameras have been activated in Baltimore County, one in Arbutus and the other in Dundalk. An article on Explore Baltimore County, by Bryan Sears, gives details on the whole ordeal.
Here are my thoughts. Granted I’m no expert, but if you’ve been to Montgomery County or even coming North on 95, just above of the DC Beltway, you already know where I’m going with this. Imagine you’re cruising down the road, whether you’re going over the posted limit or not, and you see a police officer parked off on the side of the road. What do you do? Well, some people glance down at their speedometers just to check and make sure they’re still good. Others simply take their foot off the gas just in case (that’s me). But the vast majority, slam on their brakes, whether or not they were speeding to begin with. The phenomenon surrounding speed cameras gives the word, overreaction, a whole new meaning.
One time I was driving back from Ikea College Park (love Ikea by the way) and just as I see the sign off the side of the interstate, “Work Zone, Speed Cameras in Use,” I notice the onset of brake lights. The guy or gal directly in front of me slams on their brakes so fast and hard, it almost seemed like they were coming to a complete stop. Thankfully there was no on the lane next to me or I would have hit them. Ironically neither of us were going over 55 mph. As I looked around, I noticed that this guy was not the only one completely overreacting. There were many cars a swerving cars, fingers raising , and horns a beeping. I thought they should change the sign to read “Caution death trap ahead. Speed Cameras in use.”
My other encounter with speed cameras is no less annoying. As I was visiting my friend in Montgomery County, we were driving down some random two lane road, of which I was warned about the speed cameras. I attempted to be very careful, but none the less, a few months later I received a ticket in my mailbox. Yes months, since we moved and they pulled our info before we officially changed our address and then the USPS failed to forward the citation. Regardless, I opened the letter to find a bill for $40 and a picture of my car and my license plate. Oddly, my van was in a turning lane . I don’t know about you, but unless your reckless, I’m not seeing how you could possibly speed in a turning lane. The only thing I could guess was that someone else flew past me and the camera caught me. However, by the time I received the citation, it was already passed due. Now I owed a late fee. I decided not to fight it. Really, I don’t need a reason to go back to Montgomery County. It’s like a Venus Fly Trap, just waiting to attack you and drain your wallet. So I sent in my check. And again, a month or so later, they send, to my old address, back my check and a letter explaining that they couldn’t process my payment because I didn’t add my citation # to the check. Seriously, you can’t search by last name? They told me that I had a certain amount of days, like 10 or so, to return the payment before they would notify the State and put a hold on my registration. December 26, I resent my check with the citation number clearly (and slightly bolder than necessary) written in the subject line.
Guess what showed up in my mailbox a few days later…yep, a hold on my registration. Aren’t they so sweet? When I called to fix this oversight, I was told that I had to provide proof that I changed my address is time. So I did, and guess what? They still haven’t removed the flag. All in all, a ticket that I’m fairly sure I didn’t deserve went from being a simple $40 to $95.
Of course I want people to respect school and work zone limits. Safety is far more important, right? My experience with speed camera proves to me, at least, that 1) it doesn’t necessarily make things safer, and 2) it seems like it’s more a source of revenue than anything else.