Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties are responsible for more than three-quarters of Maryland’s speed camera tickets according to a new analysis by AAA Mid-Atlantic. More than 1.5 million speed camera tickets were doled out in Maryland between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and the combined number of tickets from Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties account for 76 percent of the state total.
Over that period, Maryland netted a grand total of $62,237,840 from fines, which cost motorists up to $40 a pop. “It is so shocking that so many drivers have a wanton disregard for safety,” John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs, said in a statement. “In the course of three years, motorists incurred nearly five million speed camera tickets that carried $188,478,440 in fines, a mind-boggling sum.”
Are drivers in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties more likely to be wanton speed demons, or are there other forces at work? According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, the answer lies in the number of photo-radar cameras in those counties. More than 83 percent of the state’s 432 speed cameras are in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. County police departments are responsible for about half of the cameras, while the cities of Bowie, Takoma Park and Hyattsville have set up additional cameras of their own.
Tickets are issued to drivers traveling at least 12 miles per hour faster than the speed limit. Local jurisdictions are required by state law to appoint an ombudsman to investigate contested tickets. Maryland speed cameras can only be posted in school and work zones, though in Montgomery County, a network of neighborhood speed cameras were grandfathered into the program.
The AAA analysis also shows that there has been a slight decrease in the number of speed camera tickets over the past 3 years, from 1,599,594 in FY15, to 1,556,441 in FY16, to 1,555,946 in FY17.
Virginia does not allow speed cameras, while the District very much does. D.C. collected close to $100 million in revenue from speed cameras in 2016. A speed camera fine in the District costs between $50-$100 per ticket.