Ragina C. Ali
Public Relations Manager, MD
O: (410) 616-1900 (ext. 4361152)
C: (443) 465-5020
RAli@aaamidatlantic.com

TOWSON, MD (Tuesday, May 14, 2019) –– Speed camera programs across Maryland raked in nearly $64 million in automated traffic enforcement fine revenue during Fiscal Year 2018, according to a review conducted by AAA Mid-Atlantic.

 

“In Maryland, speed camera citations are issued to motorists exceeding the posted speed limit in school zones and work zones (Maryland Safe Zones) by 12 mph or greater,” stated Ragina Cooper Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic. In accordance with Maryland law, images are only captured and used for the purpose of issuing a citation. School zone speed cameras operate “only Monday through Friday between 6:00 A.M. and 8:00 P.M.,” and work zone cameras are in operation 24-7. Citations are issued and mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.

 

Since FY 2014, 6.3 million speedy motorists in Maryland have forked over $288.5 million in speed camera fines statewide. During the last budget cycle, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Charles County, and Howard County emerged as members of the elite “Million Dollar Club,” collectively deriving tens of millions of dollars in fines from hare-footed drivers.

 

Individually, those jurisdictions collected from as little as $1.1 million to as much as $16 million in “road-rule camera” revenue from drivers traveling faster than the law allows during FY 2018. Not only are the odds of hasty drivers getting speed camera tickets greater in the state’s four largest jurisdictions, those areas also accounted for 59.3 percent of all the state’s speed camera revenue, or $38,101,275, during FY18. There are other million dollar-plus speed camera programs across the state, such as Laurel and Salisbury, to name a few.

 

After a four-year hiatus, Baltimore resumed its citywide speed camera program in July 2017. The former program, which raked in $140 million for the City, since its inception 1999, was shuttered in April 2013, as a result of a probe of systemic irregularities with the program.

 

Baltimore City’s speed camera program “generated about $9.6 million in total revenue” during Fiscal Year 2018, according to a Fiscal and Policy Note by the Maryland Department of Legislative Services. That is the nominal value of approximately 240,000 speed camera tickets paid into the city’s coffers. Citing data from the Maryland Comptroller’s Office, the department reported Baltimore’s citywide speed camera program’s “implementation costs totaled more than $2.2 million. [Meanwhile] Net revenue retained for public safety purposes totaled $7.4 million.”

 

Baltimore County collected $5,651,371 in speed camera revenue during FY 2018. That tally equates to 141,309 paid speed camera tickets. Baltimore County deployed a network of speed monitoring devices including fixed pole locations and portable units. Of the $5.6 million in gross revenue, the program incurred $3.2 million in expenditures during the budget cycle, which was the total amount of the payment made to the speed camera contractor. Of the $2.4 million realized in net revenue, the county spent $1.2 million in body worn camera related expenses; $24,000 for three canines, $57,787 for a robot, $6,313 for a 40 MM multi-launcher. That is according to AAA Mid-Atlantic’s review of Speed Monitoring Systems (SMS) data from the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

 

In addition, $1,848,983 of Baltimore County’s speed camera revenue went to salaries and benefits for four Forensic Services positions, eleven civilian positions and eight other positions, according to a review by AAA Mid-Atlantic.

 

Given the fact they are countywide automated traffic enforcement (ATE) programs, or citywide, in the case of Baltimore, it is unsurprising they are members of the exclusive million dollar club. Several speed monitoring systems operated by localities, police forces, and municipal police departments in Maryland also generated more than a million dollars in revenue during the budget cycle. Smaller localities include College Park, Gaithersburg, Hagerstown, Laurel, Rockville, Salisbury, and Takoma Park. All told, 45 jurisdictions operated speed monitoring systems in Maryland during FY 2018 targeting drivers exhibiting a reckless disregard for speed limits and traffic safety.

 

By the numbers, at least 1,593,726 motorists were captured speeding on speed cameras across Maryland during FY 2018. They were summarily ticketed and fined for going at least 12 miles per hour (mph) over the posted speed limits in school zones, around the campus of the University of Maryland, and, in some cases, on certain neighborhood roads in Montgomery County. Instead of requesting a court date to contest the speeding offense, or a matter of prudently avoiding the risk of incurring vehicle flags for failure to resolve a speed camera violation, most errant motorists dutifully paid their fines in full.

 

“Speed violators must pay a $40 fine for each infraction caught on a speed camera and in many cases that fine is sufficient enough to modify bad driving habits or at the very least to compel some motorists to slow down within range of a speed camera,” said Averella. “Research indicates, nearly a third of speed camera tickets are issued to motorists caught speeding one mile per hour over the threshold speed that triggers the flash of the speed camera,” she added.

 

In contrast, road-rule cameras in nearly four dozen Maryland jurisdictions and localities cited around 1.5 million speedy motorists during FY 2017, generating $62.2 million in speed monitoring system fine revenue. In the cosmic scheme of things, it means the number of speed camera tickets and the sum of speed camera revenue remained essentially on par or unchanged from the two previous budget years in Maryland, including both FY 2016 and FY 2015, notes AAA Mid-Atlantic.

 

For perspective, speed cameras captured video and still photographs of 1,555,946 motorists traveling at incriminating speeds during FY 2017, compared to 1,556,441 speed limit scofflaws who triggered speed cameras in FY 2016, and 1,599,574 heedless violators in FY 2015.

 

Maryland’s Most Lucrative Speed Camera Systems in FY 2018 

 

Jurisdiction

 

Speed Camera Revenue

 

Montgomery County

 

$15,954,868

 

City of Baltimore

 

$9.6 million

 

Prince George’s Co.

 

$6,894,036

 

Baltimore County

 

$5,651,371

 

College Park

 

$2,724,254

 

Gaithersburg

 

$2,174,823

 

Rockville

 

$1,811,724

 

Laurel

 

$1,427,991

 

Charles County

 

$1,407,500

 

Salisbury

 

$1,325,771

 

Takoma Park

 

$1,244,994

 

Howard County

 

$1,190,187

 

  Sources: Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission, Comptroller of Maryland, Department of Legislative Services, Mo Co Operating Budget

  

If revenue is one of the salient yardsticks, along with other data-driven benchmarks and traffic safety calipers, for measuring the success of automated traffic enforcement, then Maryland’s million-dollar-plus speed camera programs are successful, according to the 2018 Speed Monitoring System Use Report to the State of Maryland reveals. 

                       

Millions here. Millions there. Over the course of the past five fiscal years, approximately 6,305,687 motorists in Maryland were ticketed by speed cameras. In the period from Fiscal Year 2014 to Fiscal Year 2018, local speed monitoring systems across Maryland generated $288,559,130 in fine revenue. Of that dollar amount, the speed cameras generated $222,810,069 in fine revenue from FY 2014 to FY 2017, according to data from the Maryland Comptroller’s Office and the Maryland Department of Legislative Services. 

 

During FY 2018, “six counties and Baltimore City and 38 other jurisdictions or localities” in Maryland operated speed camera programs. In addition, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) operates speed cameras in work zones on a statewide basis. Maryland jurisdictions are required to file annual Speed Monitoring Systems reports under the provisions of Maryland Transportation Article §21-809(k).  

 

As you learned in your junior high math class, “The average rate of speed for a trip is the total distance traveled by the total time of the trip.” Another factor is the likelihood of getting a speed camera ticket.

  

 

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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to over 59 million members nationwide and more than 982,000 members in Maryland.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit AAA.com.

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