Mknac’s Weblog

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Highway Robbery part 2

This post is a follow up to an earlier post titled “Highway Robbery.” One commenter stated that in Montgomery County signs are posted ahead of speed cameras that are part of the “Safe Speed” program. So I investigated and discovered this is true.

Speed Camera Sign on Quince Orchard Blvd in Gaithersburg

Speed Camera Sign on Quince Orchard Blvd in Gaithersburg

I went to a speed camera zone in Gaithersburg close to where I live on Quince Orchard Blvd. There were posted signs, perhaps a bit to close to the cameras. But if you’re paying attention you should be able to lower your speed prior to the camera. Of course I was only looking at the physical location of the camera and had no idea of where the targeted zone was in relation to the camera or the warning sign. Also I don’t know, but will assume, that the mobile speed camera’s that are being deployed also have warning signs. (Can anybody verify this?)

So if you run through a clearly posted speed camera zone and get a speeding ticket I don’t see what you have to complain about.

I don’t however believe that Montgomery County’s and Gaithersburg’s “Safe Speed” program has anything to do with lowering speed. With 178,000 people receiving tickets at $40 each since our local governments started using these devices against us nine months ago this program is all about a new revenue stream for local government nothing more.

Speed camera mounted on a pole.

Speed camera mounted on a pole. Note you can see the speed camera sign behind the SUV on a pole.

This program still stinks. I believe there are real problems contracting law enforcement activities to include traffic enforcement to corporations whose monetary compensation increases with each ticket issued. If you see a speed camera sign and don’t slow down I guess that’s your problem.

Of course our local government’s contractors are placing these devices in areas with a high probability of finding speeders such as the 25 mph zone shown above.  Like another commenter said this is a “good old fashioned” speed trap.  Speed trap yes, but old fashioned I’m not so sure about.

Note, these two pictures are not of the same signs and camera device.

The top picture is the east end of Quince Orchard Blvd looking west.  The bottom picture is looking west on QOB but on the west end.


October 13, 2008 - Posted by | social media | , ,


  1. In Montgomery County the signs mark a “photo enforcement zone”, which may be a several mile stretch of road, and are not necessary any set distance before he cameras. Local residents generally know where the fixed cameras are, and slow down before the cameras and then speed up right away afterwards.

    Mobile cameras can be placed anywhere in the photo enforcement zone, but 90% of the time there will not actually be a van present. The closest after a speed limit was reduced that I’ve seen a van so far was about 150 yards, but there is no minimum distance spelled out in transportation article 21-809.

    The Safe Speed program is a “special introductory offer”, designed to win acceptance before wider use of speed cameras is authorized. It would not have been politically savvy of the county to tick off too many local residents in the first 18 months, when the real money is in yet-to-be-authorized freeway speed cameras with higher fines. If the 2008 Maryland General Assembly hadn’t gotten bogged down in a disagreement over how to spend the ticket revenues, it would now be much easier to determine which roads in the state have photo speed enforcement: ALL OF THEM.

    It has yet to be determined whether the same standards for signage will be used in other counties in the future. Putting cameras immediately after signs, or using less visible signs, might technically be legal, but would probably be considered to be “speed traps” by most people. It would also be similar to how red light cameras have in some cases been used in intersections with short (<3 second) yellow light times that maximize tickets (which was discovered to have been done in both Bethesda and Baltimore in the past).

    The fact that those red light cameras often paid per-ticket bounties to the contractor attracted some flack, and was one of the reasons the state banned that practice with speed cameras as part of their sales pitch. Oh wait, they DO pay the contractor a per ticket bounty — nevermind.

    Comment by Stop Big Brother Maryland | October 14, 2008 | Reply

  2. What is being done with the revenue that is created from the speed camera’s. Do our county management have parties and go on lavish trips? Has anyone ever said or showed exactly where the money goes (Penny for Penny). Someone needs to be accountable and the use of the money should be voted upon. Our buerocrates think they are above it all and can do as they damn well please, we as the people need to take charge. Maybe I can Take my camera and sit somewhere and take pictures of speeders and make some money myself, oh thats right I have ethics and would not do to someone that I would not like done to me. So let the thieves keeep their cameras but do more than post a small sign to let us know that the cameras are there like hash marks painted on the road that say “Slow Speed Camera Ahead”. We need at least a fighting chance. And they need to do everything in their power to give that chance to us. If that means raising the speed 5 miles an hour more, then so be it. I know Montgomery village had to raise the speed on Watkins Mill Road to 35 from 25 because so many tickets were issued. We need to speak up to make changes that make sense and stop being robbed.

    Comment by tginotmetoday | March 21, 2009 | Reply

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