Speed camera

As 2013 began, Baltimore officials were trying to fix a troubled speed camera system. A Sun investigation had found that some cameras had been issuing faulty tickets and that government officials knew about it. The system — once among the largest on the continent — has been offline since April and will likely remain mothballed for months, officials said.

The absence of the once-lucrative program has left a budget shortfall. Baltimore anticipated $14.4 million in fines that never materialized, a gap only partially offset by not having to make about $4 million in payments to contractor Brekford Corp.

Brekford replaced original contractor Xerox State & Local Solutions, which acknowledged last year that several city cameras had an error rate of around 5 percent. The new vendor said it could only reduce those mistakes by replacing the cameras with newer models.

But by April, the city halted the new system. The Sun had found that a camera on The Alameda was citing motorists for exceeding a 25 mph limit when the posted limit is 30 mph. Soon after, local officials said they would throw out more than 6,000 appealed speed camera tickets because Xerox stopped showing up in court to defend them.

After tests showed the system sometimes produced inaccurate speed readings and listed incorrect information about paying a citation, the city said in December that it plans to pay Brekford $600,000 to end its five-year contract.

Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun
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