A Strike against Traffic Cameras

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 27, 2003 | Go to article overview

A Strike against Traffic Cameras


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Increasingly, state and city governments are using cameras to nail commuters for supposedly speeding or running red lights. The ticket arrives in the mail with no proof that the owner of the car was behind the wheel and no corroborating police testimony that a violation actually occurred. The process is run by error-prone machines. Until now, voices of protest have had little success. But last week, Gov. Robert Ehrlich, taking a stand against a legislature dominated by liberal Democrats, vetoed a radar-camera bill, making him a hero to drivers nationwide.

The proposed Maryland law would have instituted the first statewide camera-enforcement program in the country. It was a comprehensive initiative, with cameras set for school zones, residential areas and six-lane highways. The chief judge of Maryland's Court of Appeals opposed the bill because the expected flood of tens of thousands of new traffic citations would have created a logjam in the court system. At the very least, the windfall of cases would have necessitated new judges, staff and courtrooms, along with a multimillion-dollar database upgrade.

The governor's main objections to the bill were due process infringements and a lack of effectiveness inherent in the technology. In a letter explaining the veto, Mr. …

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