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Exclusive: Maryland speed cameras generating slew of tickets

Police say that automated speed enforcement programs are important in slowing down drivers, especially in school zones. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck, file)

WASHINGTON — Speed cameras are not new on Connecticut Avenue, but two new locations in Chevy Chase, Maryland, have some people complaining.

The cameras are located in the northbound lanes of Connecticut Avenue between East-West Highway and the Capital Beltway. One is near the Chevy Chase Library. The second is north of Jones Bridge Road, but south of the Inner Loop.

According to records obtained by WTOP, the 8900 block of Connecticut Ave. (northbound) is one of the top locations for speed camera tickets this year. Nearby speed cameras on Connecticut Avenue in Kensington, Maryland, have also popped up on the top-ticketed areas since 2013.

Of the people who contacted WTOP Ticketbuster about the speed cameras located in this area, most argued they were not speeding and that the cameras must be inaccurate or not calibrated correctly. No video evidence yet exists to back up those claims.

Others who wrote WTOP used a time-distance calculation to substantiate their claims. They used timestamps on the two photos attached to the ticket, as well as the distance between the locations the photos were taken, to calculate their speed (distance/time=speed). Police have rejected the accuracy of these calculations and, so far, judges have also rejected the arguments in court.

“We received complaints from the HOAs both in Kensington [Maryland] and Chevy Chase with citizens concerned about the speeding,” says Montgomery County Police Capt. Tom Didone, who runs the county speed and red light cameras.

“Our studies showed that 40 to 60 percent of the people completely disobeyed the speed limit by more than 12 miles per hour. It could be rush hour, high volume, less congestion, high speed,” he adds.

He says he believes many of those getting tickets are people commuting to or from work in the morning and evening. In the evening, speeding could be caused by people who are eager to get home and spend time with their families.

“It’s human nature for people to do that. So, we have to use the technology to change behavior because there is a correlation with crashes,” says Didone.

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