Tuesday, February 15, 2011


You're in the zone. Listening to your favorite jam, caught up in the rapture of melody and bass as you cruise down the boulevard. You've driven this route a million times, it's been a hard day at work, may be you had a class after work and you're tired. Your foot has applied too much pressure on the petal but you don't notice, Hell you just want to get home. It's 8pm, it's dark. All of a sudden, LIGHTNING!

A bright flash of light.

You wish it were lightning. Yea you know what just happened. Blood races to your face.


Caught by the speeding camera.
The speed limit was 30, you were going 42mph and quite frankly, you are pissed the fuck off.

It used to be a human police officer on the side of the road with a radar gun, now it's a mindless machine with a lens, watching you, photographing you...FINING YOU.

I have collected speed camera tickets like teenagers collect acne bumps but I've never gotten a speed ticket from an actual police officer. For some reason, most of us intuitively knew where those cops were hiding...lurking. At first we thought we were getting off easy, cameras several feet high atop metal poles, obvious from a half mile away, But now with portable radar cameras, they could be anywhere and they are hard to spot because they get smaller every year. Some on the fronts of inconspicuous vehicles like Range Rovers and even construction vehicles in construction zones.

Most of us are not reckless drivers, if that was the case, then the $24, 828 that Washington DC acquired in the first 8 months of 2010 from its speed camera program is otherwise alarming.
Should state governments be profiting from slightly heavy feet or actually cutting down on reckless driving?
Entrapment sucks.
People say that the solution is to simply slow down on the roads, No speeding, no ticket. But frankly, cameras are set up maliciously in areas of entrapment such as stretches of road where the speed limit suddenly drops I.E. construction zones and on the perimeters of school zones. Oftentimes, the driver is unaware that they are in a construction zone and that the speed limit has drastically dropped from 65 to 35mph or they haven't been given enough time to slow down. Other times, the driver is unaware that they are even in a school zone as conveniently, Maryland has increased the size of some of its school zones and speed limit signs prove to be deceiving.

What sucks more is that these cameras are not a product of police departments, they are owned by private companies which are usually based elsewhere. The incriminating photographs are sent off to police departments who issue the tickets. The proceeds do help local governments but millions are still going into the pockets of these private companies.
But whose getting the ticket? It's not the person driving the car, no, its the vehicle. The camera does not know who is driving the car, hasn't confronted the person and explained to them why they are being photographed, there is no due process, its just a machine with a lens and an instant assumption of guilt. Ideally, the vehicle should be paying the ticket, not you. No police force ever saw YOU speeding.

Is the camera radar equipment calibrated daily? Was it calibrated within 24 hours of your unpleasant photo shoot? If it wasn't, it is unlawful for you to receive a ticket. People have contested these tickets and won because of these premises. More people are fighting these speed camera tickets, more people are winning and more people are forced to use "photo blocker," a spray applied to the license plate that blurs the numbers and makes them unreadable in a photograph. It may save you thou$ands.

For us drivers, we know its wrong to speed and we admit, the programs work. People slow down at these cameras when they know they are there and will do so in the future after they've learned they are there the hard way. But it's upsetting to know that this new camera cop program that also catches people ignoring red lights, has become a second police force. And yes, may be it does allow cops to conduct more important crime solving business than passing out minor traffic violation tickets but it also takes cops off the roads when they could be catching drunk drivers. Yes in Maryland, police departments have taken a significant number of police officers off of street patrols in the advent of traffic camera programs.

Now stop signs, school buses and cross walks will be equipped with cameras in Maryland. What about invasion of privacy? Your suspicious spouse finds out where you were after viewing the incriminating police issued photo of you cruising down 9th street at 11pm. and after you deal with an inquisitive spouse, ask this: What about the fact that your personal property is being photographed without your damn permission?

The fact that POINTS are not issued with camera cop tickets is proof that the government is aware that the ticket issued is not 100% justifiable.

Needless to say, I am getting me a can of photo blocker. I can't afford any more of these fines, which in DC can well exceed 100 dollars for one minor moving violation.