Dear NMA Maryland Members,
The Maryland Drivers Alliance has been proposing these changes for years and these two bills would at least make the automated speed camera system less unfair.
Both bills will be heard this week in the House of Delegates Environment and Transportation committee which includes some of the most anti-motorist lawmakers in Maryland. Passing these two bills out of this committee will be difficult which is why it is critical for you to voice your support TODAY.
Please tell the committee members that you SUPPORT House Bill 1151 and House Bill 1365, and that you will be watching to see how elected officials and local governments stand on these two important bills so that you will know which elected officials oppose transparency of traffic safety engineering practices and who do not support motorists’ due process rights.
Details on the Bills:
House Bill 1151 will have its first committee hearing on March 1, 2018. This bill has 11 sponsors from both parties. Even though it does not ban speed cameras, the bill does allow for some common sense changes which include:
- A requirement that speed cameras actually be tested for ACCURACY. Currently state law is so lax that a speed camera need not be tested to verify speed at all and are only required to meet some unidentified “manufacturer specification” which need not conform to any nationally recognized standard.
- A requirement that a speed camera citation actually contain enough information to determine the distance a vehicle traveled between frames (essentially ensuring there is a way to verify the speed of the vehicle from images).
- A requirement that, if a defendant requests the operator of a speed camera appear, the actual person who signed the camera logs or approved the citation must appear. Right now a jurisdiction can substitute any representative they want for this person, essentially denying the defendant the right to face an accuser and allowing unauthenticated hearsay to be used against them.
- The presumption that a speed camera citation is erroneous if a defendant asks a speed camera “local designee” a question or for a citation review, and that person does not respond.
House Bill 1365 will have its first committee hearing on March 2. This bill would require that “a radar speed display sign” (a “your speed” sign) be located in the proximity of school zone speed cameras.
These devices are proven by many studies to improve voluntary compliance with speed limits, particularly in school zones. The devices could easily be paid for out of existing speed camera fines. In fact speed camera money is supposed to be used for public safety “including pedestrian safety improvements” yet Ron says he is not aware of a single instance where speed camera funds were used to deploy such a device in a school zone where speed cameras are used.
Local governments who profit from speed cameras will no doubt oppose both of these reform bills because a system without these reforms is not as profitable for them.
If you need additional information about why the NMA opposes all forms of automated speed cameras, click HERE.
To say you support both HB1151 and HB1365, please email all members of the Environment and Transportation committee:
Ron Ely would also ask that anyone in a position to provide formal testimony contact the bill sponsors. Providing formal written testimony requires 40 copies prior to the bill hearing, so if you are going to submit testimony, contact both sponsors directly so that you can get the testimony into their hands before the committee hearings this week.
HB1151’s primary sponsor is: Terri.Hill@house.state.md.us
HB1365’s primary sponsor is firstname.lastname@example.org
Wivel is also a co-sponsor of HB1151.
Thank you for your support of motorists’ rights in Maryland!