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Posted at 10:10 AM ET, 08/17/2011

AAA: Remove speed camera in College Park

AAA officials are calling for the removal of a College Park speed camera, saying it violates state guidelines for where such enforcement devices should be placed.

The concern about the Metzerott Road camera is one of a larger series of complaints AAA has with the College Park’s speed camera enforcement system. AAA officials said there are questions about the accuracy of cameras and whether they meet other standards.

“Despite persistent complaints about this camera, the city refuses to rectify the concerns,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “Since it is located on a county road, we are calling on county officials to remove it.”

AAA officials said the camera, which is in 3300 block of Metzerott Road, is outside the half-mile perimeter around the University of Maryland campus, where cameras are allowed.

Joseph L. Nagro, the city manager, said the camera is within the perimeter. He said AAA has it wrong.

“I don’t think they understand the state law on location,” Nagro said.

Nagro said College Park’s camera system had been effective at reducing driver’s speeds on city roads, since the cameras were deployed last November.

AAA also raised concerns about the cameras’ calibration. Officials said a driver was cited by a speed camera for going 49 mph in a 35 mph zone on Paint Branch Parkway in January. The driver testified at trial that a computer system in his car proved he was going 29 mph. The case was dismissed on a technicality, according to AAA.

Nagro said he was unaware of any problems with the accuracy of the cameras. He said calibration is checked by an independent contractor and verified daily.

The city’s system is operated by Optotraffic, which recently won a contract to deploy portable speed cameras at 113 locations around Prince George’s County. Since College Park’s cameras were deployed, they have issued 60,000 tickets and generated $2.4 million in revenue, according to AAA.

By  |  10:10 AM ET, 08/17/2011

 
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