Baltimore Sun staff writers Scott Calvert and Luke Broadwater spent more than six months investigating the proliferation of speed cameras in the region. They obtained detailed citation data from Baltimore City, Baltimore County and the State Highway Administration, which oversees the state's highway work zones.
The public records requests yielded data on more than 2 million government-issued citations, including the date, location, tag number and recorded speed for each. The Sun could then, for example, track trends at certain locations and document multiple ticket recipients.
Baltimore plans to pay its speed camera vendor $600,000 to end a troubled relationship that has left the city's once lucrative automated enforcement program offline since April and some members of the City Council questioning whether it's time to pull the plug altogether.
Baltimore's massive speed and red light camera system has experienced a near-complete shutdown during what city officials are calling a problematic transition to a new contractor, records show, and the new vendor says it could take four months to get its system up and running.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts said Friday that his officers' rushed review of speed camera tickets has produced "unacceptable" mistakes and pledged "dramatic" reform of the system, including increased staffing.
Baltimore's speed camera contractor revealed Friday that several of the city's automated cameras have been wrongly ticketing one of every 20 passing cars and trucks.
The speed camera ticket alleged that the four-door Mazda wagon was going 38 mph in a 25 mph zone — and that owner Daniel Doty owed $40 for the infraction. But the Mazda wasn't speeding. It wasn't even moving.
Baltimore's speed and red light camera contractor says it expects the city's dormant network of automated cameras to be "fully activated" by the end of September. But city officials say no restart date has been set and make clear the decision rests with them — not the contractor.
A task force studying Baltimore's troubled speed camera program will urge the city to increase oversight of the process, change the way camera sites are chosen and create a new speed camera website containing maps and other information for the public.
Legislation introduced by state Sen. James Brochin would turn voluntary state guidelines that urge governments to limit speed cameras to just 500 feet of a school into law — a change that, if approved by the General Assembly, would force the city to reconfigure its camera network.
Baltimore police officials said Thursday the department is doubling to 25 the number of officers available to review speed camera tickets — one of several moves intended to help prevent the issuance of erroneous citations, which has cast a cloud over the city's program in recent months.