Baltimore, MD - Few people want to admit they speed, but a Baltimore woman called the 11 News I-Team after getting a ticket that she said the city should never have issued.
It turns out Carrie Cammarato was right. The I-Team confirmed that the speed enforcement camera was wrong, and that problem means the city has to refund hundreds of drivers who received erroneous tickets and paid the fines.
Cammarato said that, when the speed camera ticket arrived in the mail, it surprised her, but so did the information on it. At issue was a $40 ticket generated from a speed camera in the 5200 block of North Charles Street near Northern Parkway. Cammarato said she has no problem with the fine, but she thinks the ticket is unfair.
"I knew the cameras were there," she said.
Cammarato said she passed the speed camera traveling below the 12 mph threshold that triggers a speed camera ticket.
But she got one anyway.
"I thought, 'That's really strange, because the ticket says it's a 25 mph zone, but the street (sign) says 30 mph,'" Cammarato said.
Cammarato said she tried reporting the error to the city parking office and she sent information requesting a court date, but she then received a warning about the unpaid ticket. Next, she filed a complaint with the city and sent in pictures to prove she had done nothing wrong.
"I think most of us are for traffic calming in this city. It's needed, absolutely. But we want to have confidence these cameras are programmed correctly, monitored for accuracy and there is accountability by the city for errors," Cammarato said.
The I-Team contacted the Baltimore City Department of Transportation and asked about the specific camera. The I-Team learned that the city activated the camera on May 23 and that 300 people were issued violations. The city said the camera was set up properly, but was set at 25 mph because of the school zone.
"The quality assurance team I manage to make sure this program is a solid program, they are the ones that caught the error," DOT spokesman Charles Turner said.
The I-Team found only 30 mph signs on Charles Street. The city said it made a change to the camera and it will abate the 300 tickets issued.
"This program is not about entrapment. It's about safety. So we go with the higher speed. In Maryland, the trigger speed is 12 (mph) above, so we raised the trigger speed about 5 mph to match the 30 (mph signs) instead of the 25 (mph limit)," Turner said.
DOT officials said Cammarato should not have to go to court and that she will receive a letter explaining the problem and instructing her to disregard the ticket.