Just last month we blogged about the trouble with Baltimore speed cameras. But B-more isn’t the only metropolitan area having issues with these money-making headaches. Metro P.D. Sergeant Mark Robinson tried to get the city of D.C. to pay attention to the problems with their cameras, but they wouldn’t listen. It wasn’t until he got nailed with one himself and challenged it in court that he found success. And this level of success could be a major problem for D.C. city officials. [Read more…]
No one likes to feel caught red-handed, especially when it’s for something they know everyone is doing and done without warning. This could be part of the reason Maryland drivers are taking out their frustrations on speed cameras and the vehicles that carry them.
According to the Baltimore Sun, several area speed camera vans and stationary speed cameras. have been vandalized in recent years. They have been pelted with rocks, covered in spray paint, beaten with hammers, nailed with marbles, and covered in post-it notes.
There are about 100 of these cameras in the Baltimore area. Some are hidden in vans and other vehicles while others are mounted on posts. They monitor passing cars and generate traffic tickets which are mailed to speeding drivers.
Many people see the speed cameras as sneaky traps, ways for the city or area to raise revenue without working for it.
A 2009 state law allowed local jurisdictions to install them. Since then, areas have collected generous revenue. In Howard County, who has only been using the cameras for six months, more than 15,000 tickets have been sent out and more than $480,000 has been collected.
“I think most of the citizens I’ve talked to in the county resent the ‘Big Brother’ policy that the camera represents,’ says Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold. Anne Arundel County is not using the cameras largely because the residents there don’t want them.
Way back in 2008, cops tried to figure out who was covering the cameras in post-it notes. Now, however, vandals have gotten a little more advanced, spraying them with paint, nailing them with marbles as they pass, or even setting them on fire.
One man, who admitted to throwing marbles at the speed camera vans was actually followed by one of the vans until he stopped. Then the police were called and the suspect was charged with second-degree assault, destruction of property, and reckless endangerment—far more than a speeding ticket.
Some of the cameras are difficult to see, leading people to feel like they’ve been tricked. But municipalities make a good point when they say, you shouldn’t be speeding whether or not a camera is there.
Vandalism at the expense of speed cameras may seem sometimes-humorous, like a prank committed in frustration. But, these “pranks” can lead to serious criminal charges.
If you are accused of vandalism, reckless endangerment, or other criminal charges for something you regret, you need someone on your side working for your best interests. Contact our offices today to discuss your case. We can offer a free consultation and some potentially valuable legal advice.
Michael Dresser at the Baltimore Sun thinks that people who speed are as bad as sex offenders.
That is certainly bad enough, but he also believes that Maryland should adopt Virginia’s extremely tough reckless driving laws, and charge anyone speeding 20mph over the limit as a criminal. Currently, reckless driving here in Maryland is typically a civil charge, though it can lead to a suspended license.
The fact is, tougher reckless driving laws do little to prevent so called “dangerous driving”. The primary goal of most aggressive/reckless driving crackdown laws is revenue for the state. These laws are extremely profitable, and cost drivers thousands of dollars in fees, fines, lost work time due to court dates, increased insurance costs.
And there is absolutely no evidence that they make the roads safer.
Virginia tried to push the envelope even further when then enacted “abusive driver fees”, a shameless effort that state officials admitted was merely to extract even more revenue from hapless citizens. That law was repealed after less than a year due to citizen outcry. And rightly so.
Maryland doesn’t need to follow this same path in severely punishing relatively minor driving offenses.
For advice on a driving citation, traffic ticket or other criminal charge in Maryland, please contact us.