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Watch Out For New Speed Cameras!

Watch Out For New Speed Cameras!

On Tuesday, due to the Inauguration, I was terrified of driving the Beltway, so I opted to take the back roads. Down Quince Orchard Rd, past the high school, through North Potomac, then Potomac. I took a more scenic route home. The areas surrounding Darnestown Rd, River Rd, Turkeyfoot Rd, etc.

Luckily I’m a fairly cautious driver and was hovering around the speed limit, because the number of speed cameras in this area must have doubled in the last couple months alone. I’m all for safety, but the speed cameras in the area are ridiculous.

It’s one thing to have them in high trafficked areas, like the one just North of Midcounty Highway and Route 124, for the safety of drivers and pedestrians. But I have to say OVERKILL when you put 5+ cameras within a 15 mile radius, where there are very few vehicles and even fewer pedestrians.

When I started seeing “SCAM” written in chalk just before the speed cameras, I knew I wasn’t the only one.

Why the speed cameras?

I think it is naive to believe that the state, county, or whoever is in charge is doing this out of concern for its citizens. This is an easy source of money for the government, and it is in their best interest to put up as many of these speed cameras as possible.

What’s worse is that the company that owns and operates these cameras is getting paid a commission for every ticket issued. This gives them a lot of motive to increase the ticket rate by making cameras hard to see, and other means of increasing the ticketing rate.

It is in the best interest of the state/county and the agency that owns the cameras to install as many cameras as possible, so they can make more money.

Upon Further Research…

I discovered that I’m far from the only person upset with these cameras. In fact there are numerous blogs dedicated to getting these speed cameras removed or to improve the legislation surrounding them.

Other sources:

What you can do (source):

Join the cause, write a representative, fight the ticket, or avoid getting a ticket all together. DC Camera Fraud can put it into words better than I can.

Update: 1/29/2009

The Washington Post reports that the camera on the 900 block of Quince Orchard Road has been activated.

However, I drove by this afternoon and saw no signs of the cameras. Either they aren’t up yet or they’ve gotten really good at hiding the cameras.

I’ll try to report in tomorrow to confirm.

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  • Paul says:

    Some things I forgot to add in the original post:

    There will be a new speed camera going up on Quince Orchard Rd/MD-124 on January 29th.

    I haven’t seen any clues as to where it will be positioned, but the sign is placed about 1/2 a mile North of Quince Orchard Highschool.
    I’m guessing it will be in this general area.

  • Thomas Payne says:

    The county and the state are desperate for “revenue,” and complying with the orderly political process is exactly what they count on. Letter-writing, petitioning, and complaining are polite futile gestures. Everybody knows it, but few dare to say so. The only way that this sort of activity will change is when it becomes unreasonably costly for it to continue.

    The Boston Tea Party wasn’t polite. If, hypothetically of course, citizens were to damage these cameras with spray paint, the cost of constant repair and enforcement would certainly enter the equation. Hypothetically of course.

  • Paul says:

    I think you are correct to some degree Thomas.

    This notion that letter writing and petitioning is going to make major changes in government is an easy way to keep us busy while they carry on with whatever they had planned to begin with.

    I have family out in Tulsa, OK. They claim that people will come into the streets at night and shoot down the red light cameras with shotguns. My guess is that they stopped putting them up after some point. Though I haven’t kept in touch to find out.

    I nor Gaithersburg Local condone such actions of course.

  • Warren G says:

    It would be interesting if somebody could challenge the legality of the Mont Co speed cameras. In some other states the courts have ruled that paying the camera company based upon the number of tickets or a percentage of the “take” is illegal.

  • Paul/Thomas, yes and no. “Passive” opposition such as signing petitions and writing letter can show state legislators that they will lose votes over an issue. And it serves as a way of reminding other people that they have a right to say NO to the government. But you are correct that if they are determined, the legislators will not be swayed, and right now they probably do have enough votes to pass the Governor’s Statewide speed camera bill.

    However dc.camerafraud and StopBigBrotherMD are planning to do more than passive opposition… IF enough supporters are willing to help us become more “active”. There are things which can be done within the law.

    Warren: there is a lawsuit pending right now over just that issue. The county’s contract flat-out violates the letter and spirit of the law against per-ticket payments. However the similar cases you mentioned are in other states, so their is no guarantee the deciding court in Maryland will not side with the govt since judges are appointed by govt officials who in MD support speed cameras.

  • Paul says:

    Thanks for stopping in and clarifying things StopBigBrotherMD.

    If you need any support from GaithersburgLocal, don’t hesitate to contact us:


  • Jim says:

    if anyone is “hypothetically” thinking of spray-painting or otherwise damaging these things–just remember they are, after all, cameras! Wouldn’t want to hypothetically get caught!

  • Paul says:

    The speed cameras on Quince Orchard Rd are in fact operational.

  • [...] This is something we covered earlier in our post about speed cameras in Maryland. [...]

  • [...] I was pretty upset by the initial thought of invasion of privacy. If you remember, we also reported on the installation of speed cameras in Gaithersburg. [...]

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