I fully agree with Nate Hammond's letter of July 28 that speed cameras introduce a new safety concern, and I have an actual example. I was caught by a speed camera in Bowie in July 2010, going 37 miles per hour past the high school annex. I had a 90-year-old male passenger, with a bad heart and in respiratory distress.
It was the third day in a string of 100-degree-plus weather and the man developed shortness of breath while at Belair Mansion. I was attempting to reunite him as quickly as possible with his oxygen tank, which he had left at home. I remember checking the map for the quickest way home and not noting any schools along the route. I guess the map did not note the annex because it was not a school.
I went to court to fight the ticket given the circumstances. The judge appeared sympathetic. When I expressed my surprise at being ticketed for speeding in a school zone in July, the judge asked the policeman for an explanation and he replied that the law allowed for ticketing year round. The judge reduced my fine by $10. The whole affair smacked of a revenue-generating ploy to me.
For those who argue that ambulances should be used for medical emergencies, I would think twice with all the budget cuts to county fire stations and emergency services. The ambulance may take longer to arrive than driving 25 miles per hour the whole way to the hospital. And what about women in labor? Should we expect husbands to drive slowly by a school or schools on the way to the hospital, especially at 7 p.m.?
I agree with Mr. Hammond that vehicle-activated signs are a better alternative. My question is, will there have to be fatalities before the change to vehicle-activated signs occurs? I urge everyone to contact Laurel, Prince George's County and state officials and tell them that vehicle-activated signs are a better, safer choice.