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AAA Criticizes Maryland Town’s Speed Cameras

Group spokesman John Townsend says speed cameras installed in College Park, Md. violate both state and county standards.

The automobile association covering the Mid-Atlantic region criticizes a Maryland town for the placement of speed cameras alleging the cameras are inaccurate and cannot legally be used to issue speeding tickets.

AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John Townsend says speed cameras installed in College Park, Md. fail to record accurately time-stamped photos and violate both state and county standards. The cameras in College Park—which is suburb of Washington, D.C.—have resulted in more than 60,000 speeding tickets being issued since they were installed in the fall of 2010 and generated more than $2.4 million as of May 2011, according to Townsend.

Of the $2.4 million, from $350,000 to $600,000 will go to the city, a deal which Lon Anderson, who is also with AAA-Mid-Atlantic, says is College Park’s “new ATM machine.”

The College Park cameras are provided by Optotraffic of Lanham, Md. Optotraffic’s cameras are used in more than 14 Maryland municipalities including Berwyn Heights, Brentwood, Glenarden, Mount Rainier and New Carrollton, according to the company.

However, Mickey Shepherd, Optotraffic’s senior account manager, said the claim that the cameras use pictures to measure speed are wrong. The photos taken do not measure speed, but they are taken to prove that the vehicle was there, Shepherd said. Rather, the cameras use lasers to measure speed, and the lasers are calibrated daily using four GPS satellites, to ensure the cameras’ accuracy.

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