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.

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October 13, 2008 Posted by | social media | , , | 2 Comments

Highway Robbery

An article in the local paper reminded me of a local government program I loathe.  As you may be aware our so-called Montgomery County and Gaithersburg City governments, foolishly elected by us, has taken to robbing citizens of their cash while driving on local roads.

Gaithersburg, MD Safe Speed

Gaithersburg, MD Safe Speed

I will not vote for and urge my fellow residents not to vote to re-elect Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett,  Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney A. Katz or any members of the Montgomery County Council or Gaithersburg City Council who voted for or support the use of speed cameras.

These devices are schemed by our tax and spend governments under the disguise of some vehicular safety program to pour money into the coffers of the government and their contractors.  See Montgomery County’s and Gaithersburg’s deception plan here called the “Safe Speed Program.”

But we all know that the real reason for these devices is to fleece the residents, commuters and visitors of their money. Our faceless local government bureaucrats are salivating as they dream about how to spend your money from speed camera tickets on their local pork barrel projects that benefit contractors.

The reason speed cameras are nothing but a highway robber tool or perhaps a driver TAX or FEE is because these devices do not modify driver behavior.  For example, if somebody is speeding and runs through one of these robbery traps the device is activated and the person keeps on driving at the same speed.  How was safety increased?  It wasn’t because the speed of the vehicle in a “dangerous area” was not slowed by the speed camera.  No behavior was modified.  Nobody’s driving behavior is modified getting a speeding ticket two weeks later.

Of course the government will always justify speed cameras by producing a report prepared by their contractor and most likely an extra study from the speed camera manufacturer that they say shows that the use of speed cameras reduces vehicle speed.  Are you really going to believe a report from the contractors benefiting from the goverment using these devices against its citizens?  Could a report paid for by the government (from your taxes) from a contractor benefiting from the use of speed cameras be fair and objective?  I don’t believe these studies, do you?  It is in the contractor’s self interest to conclude that speed cameras supposedly reduce vehicle speed.

Additionally see this question from the “Safe Speed Program” Frequently Asked Questions:
“Q: What is the fine?
A: Violators must pay a $40 fine. Since the violations are being treated as civil and not criminal violations, there are no license points assigned and vehicle insurance providers are not notified of the citation.”

Where Gaithersburg says they are using Speed Cameras.

Where Gaithersburg says they are using Speed Cameras.

By not assessing points or notifying your insurance they are encouraging you to just pay the fine and move on to other issues.  They know that if they were to assess points to your driver’s license these hundreds of thousands of tickets would be contested in court.  But what they really are doing is tricking you into paying the fine rather than fight it.

According to the Examiner’s article “Monthly speed cameras nab 20,00 per month” 178,000 people have received tickets since our local governments started using these devices against us nine months ago.

As usual our state and local governments refuse to live within a reasonable budget for their tax base.  In these economic times our local Montgomery County and Gaithersburg City governments would rather find a new revenue stream from the citizen’s pockets than make the governmental decisions to reduce unneeded services and pet projects.

Of course they’ll say the same old tired Government-PR-Speak that speed cameras are for our safety.  If caught off their talking points our elected officials will fall back on something like they want to keep the high quality services we have here.

I’d rather see our local government cut un-needed programs, reduce duplicate programs, cut program office creep and find new efficiencies rather than find a new way to tax /fee/rob and spend.  I’ve lived in several states that didn’t have all the taxes and fees that Maryland has.  Yes, they had sales taxes and other ways to generate money for local government.  But overall I’d say the tax rate was less and their services were as good or better than Montgomery County’s and Gaithersburg’s.

I’m sure our community would survive without the revenue stream from speed cameras.  But like a addict and their drug of choice they can’t resist.  In this case the addict is local government and the drug is your money.  Something government always wants and finds new ways to separate from you to them.

And no I haven’t received a speed camera ticket from Montgomery County or Gaithersburg…yet. But I did get one in DC about 6 months ago for going 36 in a 25 zone.  And yes I took the easy way out and paid my fine on-line to avoid the hassle.  If there are no points why fight it?  Just like our governments planned and wanted.

But I’m a REGISTERED VOTER, who actually VOTES.  And I WILL VOTE AGAINST EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM IN THE NEXT ELECTION, even if the challenger supports speed cameras just to get them out.

Just to be clear I am not advocating for reckless driving or speeding.  I see crazy things on the DC area roads all the time.  The majority of drivers operate their vehicles in a safe manner minding their driving skills and traffic conditions.  If the real goal is to lower speed limits in a dangerous area, a police car sitting on the side of the road will do that.  A speed camera will not.

July 30, 2008 Posted by | social media | , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments