Maryland's Speed Camera Program considered a Disaster
The Office of Legislative Audit's (OLA) November 2012 Audit Report set forth a number of concerns that were further defined in a Joint Audit Committee Hearing, December 5, 2012.
Some of the specific issues documented by the OLA Audit include the following:
The speed detection equipment proposed by the contractor, and accepted by SHA, did not conform to the required industry standards; the RFP required that the equipment conform to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s (IACP) speed detection equipment standards to provide assurance of its calibration and functionality.
SHA failed to create a benchmark or otherwise enforce the contract requirement that the contractor prove that the system accurately measured speeds and captured readable license plates.
It seems unlikely that the equipment met the above conditions considering that of the 133,620 speed camera images taken during the pilot period, SHA deemed 56% of them “unacceptable” based on “readability and reliability,”
When the contract to operate the system was awarded in June 2010, SHA also hired a separate consultant, specifically to conduct tests of the contractor’s equipment prior to the award. This consultant conducted only 18 of the 40 test runs required, reported on only eight of those tests runs, and five of those eight were faulty. SHA could not provide a reasonable explanation for accepting the consultant’s report that the “observed results fell within acceptable standards.”
SHA reduced the accuracy requirement from 95% to 90% of the system’s reported violations – even though that percentage is calculated after eliminating about 20% of the total number of images that are deemed unreadable due to “uncontrollable events” (such as a vehicle’s tag is blocked by another car).
The system equipment did not undergo a calibration check by an independent laboratory until nine months after implementation
launching the program without validation of the accuracy of the equipment and by ticketing drivers at times such as the middle of the night, when no activity is going on, the residents of Maryland have a right to be skeptical of the true intent of such programs.
Will SHA notify citation recipients of that 9 month period that faulty equipment was used in the issuance of that citation?
Will SHA make refunds to citation recipients of this period?
Would SHA consider notifying citation recipients what the State is required to do/show in court in order to substantiate a “speed-camera” ticket, by enclosing the Statute language with the citation mailed to the ‘violator'? (See Attached)
Has SHA thoroughly investigated the Columbia, Maryland firm that is currently tasked to perform the annual calibration of the speed camera system to ensure that it has no direct or indirect association with the manufacturer or the operator of this equipment?
Has SHA succeeded in revising its procurement process to assure that in any future RFP, an entity hired to evaluate the accuracy of certain equipment has no actual or perceived association with the contractor supplying and/or operating the equipment?
Will SHA reconsider its 24/7 coverage policy? Specifically, will SHA consider exempting the mid-night hours when no one is working at the site and when traffic is uniquely light?
Friends of Trent Kittleman
3000 Kittleman Lane • West Friendship, Maryland 21794