Maryland County Hires Controversial Traffic-Camera Company

Optotraffic said it had “successfully accomplished its mission” to reduce speeding in Cheverly when it terminated its contract with that town in August 2011.
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A traffic-camera management company that ended managing such cameras for the town of Cheverly, Md. after a town official criticized the company’s frequent equipment malfunctions has been hired by Prince George’s County, Md. to manage the county’s speed camera program.

Optotraffic said it had “successfully accomplished its mission” to reduce speeding in Cheverly when it terminated its contract with that town in August 2011. The cameras are credited with issued about one ticket per day in August, compared with more than 400 in July 2010.

However, Cheverly Administrator David Warrington outlined problems with Optotraffic’s cameras and management in letters sent to the company. In the letters Warrington says the quality of the pictures was so poor that the town could only issue two violations out of 20 photos taken; that the cameras were poorly calibrated with some producing photos of nothing, but which said vehicles were passing at speeds in excess of 75 mph, or of bicycles reported to have been traveling from 38 to 57 mph, he wrote.

Cheverly’s concerns with Optotraffic were not publicly reported until Prince George’s County was finalizing its own contract with the company. More than $500,000 in speeding tickets have been issued by Prince George’s County since Optotraffic assumed management of the cameras, there are plans to deploy as many as 72 more cameras around the county by the end of 2012.

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