Sunday, December 21, 2008

Unintended side-effects of speed cameras

In Montgomery County, Maryland, teens have found a new use for speed cameras--getting revenge on people they don't like or who have wronged them. Since the tickets from photo radar cameras are issued to the owners of the cars whose license plates are captured, they print out fake license plates on glossy photo paper, stick them over their own license plates, and then go out speeding.

This shows yet another flaw in the photo radar ticket process. I've speculated that registering your cars in the name of an LLC or trust is probably sufficient to make it difficult to assign individual responsibility to a speeding incident.

UPDATE (December 23, 2008): In Australia, an even more creative revenge against a mobile speed camera--have it issue tickets to itself! They could have just noted the plate number and followed the example of the Maryland teens, rather than stealing the actual plate... (Thanks, Adam, for the link.)


Gordon said...

In the UK the police got round this by writing to the owner asking them to say who was driving. If they refuse then the owner gets the ticket personally. In the case of a company the company secretary would get the ticket. There is no escape.

Lippard said...

That could potentially work here for civil violations, but would require legislation to enact that kind of liability.

I don't think it could work for criminal violations (in Arizona, speeding 20 mph or more over the limit is a criminal violation). If you didn't actually engage in the crime, you can't be held liable, and the government has the burden of proof beyond reasonable doubt.

Einzige said...

If civil fines become transferable here as in the UK then I think we'll see a large increase in people having their friends drive >20MPH over the speed limits. I assume, of course, that criminal charges won't become similarly transferable, though who knows?