A state delegate from Baltimore County says public confidence in speed cameras has deteriorated to the point that a state audit and possible reboot are needed.
Del. Jon Cardin said Monday he plans to sponsor a bill calling for an audit of state and local speed camera tickets with an eye on rooting out bogus citations.
"Maybe it's time to go back to the drawing board," Cardin said.
The Baltimore County Democrat said he is in the process of drawing up a bill that would create an audit due to legislators by October 2013. Instances of bogus tickets issued to drivers would result in a $1,000 per incident penalty, though it is not clear if the jurisdiction or the speed camera vendor would be responsible for the fine, Cardin said.
"I'm not trying to put people out of business," Cardin said. "I'm concerned with try to create a system that is accurate and keeps people safe."
Cardin said he would like to see judges throw out tickets when it's not clear that the driver was speeding. He stopped short of saying he would include language in his bill that would freeze speed camera programs used by the state, Baltimore City, Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery counties.
Cardin's news conference came a day after the Baltimore Sun reported that some counties have no way for drivers or judges to determine if the car pictured was actually speeding.
In Baltimore City, citations provide time stamps on each of the two photos on the citations issued. Those time stamps allow for a math calculation that helps determine speed, according to the paper.
The General Assembly passed legislation allowing for the implementation of speed cameras in highway construction and school zones.
Baltimore County recently expanded its program to more than three dozen cameras in school zones around the county. The cameras operate every day of the year between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Drivers are issued a $40 ticket, with no points, for exceeding the speed limit by more than 12 mph.
Xerox State and Local Solutions, formerly known as ACS State and Local Solutions, gets nearly half of every fine paid to the county. Xerox is also the current camera vendor for speed cameras in Baltimore city, Howard County and the state of Maryland.
Elise Armacost, a Baltimore County police spokeswoman, said the county does not provide detailed time stamps on the photos included in its citations because it's not required by law.
"We follow the law as it is written," Armacost said.
Baltimore County police calibrate the devices daily.
"The cameras [in Baltimore County] are calibrated every morning and every evening and if there are any problems with the calibration we throw the tickets for that day out," Armacost said. "The key for us is the daily calibration."