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Accuracy and Legal Problems in Photo Tickets Across the Country

May 1, 2010

Accuracy and Legal Problems in Photo Tickets Across the Country

Bogus photo enforcement tickets issued in Arizona, Maryland, Missouri, Oregon, Texas, Washington state and the UK.

Bogus Missouri  ticketIn the past few weeks, motorists in Arizona, Maryland, Missouri, Oregon, Texas, Washington state and the UK discovered that they had been wrongly issued red light camera and speed camera tickets. In Baltimore, Maryland, for example, the speed camera at the 2200 block of West Cold Spring Lane was set to ticket drivers as if the speed limit were 30 MPH. In fact, the limit for eastbound traffic is 35 MPH. Baltimore officials now must issue refunds after 932 motorists were falsely accused, WBFF-TV reported. The tickets would have been worth $37,280. Only 200 vehicle owners had paid the citation before motorist Brian Struckmeier blew the whistle on the speed limit error.

In El Paso, Texas motorist Gracie Goetz received a red light camera ticket in the mail for a violation that she did not commit. Goetz drives a silver car, but the car shown on the citation is black. Goetz got the run-around when trying to point out how the ticket was wrongly issued, as city officials insisted that errors were rare, KFOX-TV reported.

Motorist William King also received a red light camera ticket in the mail from the city of Excelsior Springs, Missouri for a violation that he did not commit, WDAF-TV reported. King owns a silver Ford Edge SUV with the personalized license plate “ON EDGE.” The vehicle in the ticket photo is a black Ford Edge with the same license plate. It turns out that the state allows the same plate to be issued as long as the cars are registered in separate counties. Neither the city nor the red light camera company bothered to resolve the bogus ticket until WDAF intervened.

The newest average speed camera system in Derbyshire, England was proved inaccurate by Motorcycle News. The device on the A537 records the amount of time it takes for a vehicle to pass five separate points along the road to produce an estimate of its average speed over the given distance. Between two of the points, however, there is a shortcut where the speed limit is 10 MPH faster, which if taken would result in a falsely high speed reading.

In Phoenix, Arizona the state Department of Public Safety has asked Australia’s Redflex Traffic Systems to place a mobile speed camera van on the Eastbound 101 near I-17, according to the group A fixed speed camera is located at the 35th Avenue exit less than a mile away, and there is no freeway on-ramp between the locations. That means drivers hit by the first camera are almost certainly going to be hit by the second, yielding two tickets for the same offense.

In Milwaukie, Oregon, Lalita Miles, 48, received a $235 ticket in the mail for allegedly driving 37 MPH on King Road where a sign indicated the speed limit was 25 MPH, The Oregonian reported. Miles discovered that, in fact, the speed limit on the road was actually 35 MPH, but the city continued to use an illegally low limit to boost the number of citations generated. A Clackamas County Circuit Court found Miles guilty of driving 2 MPH over the limit.

In Tacoma, Washington a motorist discovered that Redflex had been citing the wrong state code on its automated traffic citations. According to KING-TV, the Tacoma Municipal Court is automatically dismissing tickets with the wrong notice. A total of 8000 tickets were improperly issued between December 2, 2009 and March 9, 2010.

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