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Speed Camera Citations on the Increase

In Howard County's school zones, mobile camera units averaged 104 citations per day in January and 90 per day in December, said police.

Nearly 2,200 citations were issued by school zone speed cameras in January, according to the Howard County Police Department (HCPD). Only a handful of citations have been contested.

“Our collective thought was that the first [contested ticket] would be a physicist with a projector,” debating the accuracy of the technology, Chief William McMahon said this week.

It was, instead, a young woman who was speeding, contested the ticket, and was found guilty, McMahon said. So far, all of the drivers who have contested citations—less than five—have been found guilty and ordered to pay the $40 fine.

Money from the citations is earmarked to pay for the speed camera program, according to HCPD spokeswoman Elizabeth Schroen. Any additional money is dedicated to public safety programs.

In January alone, speed camera operators issued approximately 2,100 citations, according to Capt. John McKissick. That's about $84,000.

“That was with 20 operational days,” he said. “They averaged about 104 citations per day” in January, he said, and about 90 per day in December.

McKissick last year answered some frequently asked questions about the speed camera program. 

The two speed cameras are mobile, and travel to different school zones in Howard County during the day and any time when a school facility is in use, for class or other activities.

They're operational Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

McMahon said that in particular, Whiskey Bottom Road, Ilchester Road and Centennial Lane have proven to have speed problems.

At the Citizens Advisory Council meeting, where citizens can talk with the police chief, an attendee asked if there was any discussion about putting speed cameras on “regular” streets as opposed to solely in school zones.

“I do think they have potential use on the roads,” McMahon said, but as written, legislation only allows Howard County to use speed cameras in school and work zones. 

“I don’t see that on the horizon,” he said.

bill bissenas February 21, 2012 at 01:02 PM
This massive money maker for the county will not reduce your property taxes or county income taxes. The Democrats (socialists) will spend all of it, and then also raise your taxes. They will take your property until you stop them.
Lisa Ott February 21, 2012 at 01:25 PM
While I know that it's no fun to get a speeding ticket, I am so grateful to Chief McMahon and Howard County police for placing a high priority on school children's safety. Our school, Phillips, is on a busy stretch of Whiskey Bottom Rd. where accidents had already occurred and dangerous near-misses were routine. The speed cameras are a great reminder to slow down. Thank you for your effective intervention.
Sean Colin February 21, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Besides how much money was generated are there any facts as to the fewer number of accidents or how many less children were struck now that these wonderful cameras are in place? The number of citations are increasing so the cameras are not having the desired effect are they?
Stacy February 21, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Really, a young woman can't be a physicist? I think you could rework your set up to this story a bit. Her gender and age aren't what separated her from police expectations--it was her employment and lack of a projector.
Mike Radinsky February 21, 2012 at 03:45 PM
My thought is that the efficacy of the cameras, if the intent is to slow down traffic in school zones, would be enhanced by making the camera zone very, very obvious, even obnoxiously so. Large orange signs, flashing lights, etc warning drivers that they will get a $40 ticket, rather than the small "photo enforced" signs. It would likely create a similar effect as when someone flashes lights near a speed trap, everyone slows down. Yes, they should be obeying the law anyway, but is the intent to catch unwary speeders to raise revenue, or to make a specific road safer for the children.
Christy February 22, 2012 at 12:34 AM
AGREED, I think the tally of how much money should be broadcasted to us Howard County citizens and then they show where the money is going! I like that when they have money problems they always try to act like the only cut is the police and firemen. Yeah I bet all of us would find 1000 more that we could do without FIRST!
bill bissenas February 23, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Simply ask Ken (dirty, filthy) Ulman if he supports taking the money from the red light and speed cameras and giving it back to the people in the form of a property tax and/or income tax rebate. His answer will be "no." And that's all you need to know about the motives behind such cameras.

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