I am pleased to report that “Man Dons Monkey Mask To Avoid Speeding Ticket” has generated the most hits of any of my blog posts and the feedback has been quite polarizing. Some say “good for him”; its enough of Big Brother watching us and taking our money. On the other hand, others felt that he shouldn’t be speeding and his “King Kong” defense won’t work anyway.
The popularity of this post has led me to research speed cameras and give some thought as to whether New York will be soon using them. While common in Europe, there are only 2 states that currently use them. Arizona was the first to install speed cameras in June 2008 and Maryland as of May 2009. Arizona’s program is state-wide and, as reported by USA Today, resulted in 150,000 camera speeding tickets being issued and over $4 million in fines. Maryland allows speed cameras on highway work zones and within 1/2 mile of schools, and a Governor’s spokesperson claims that it has already lowered accident rates and injuries. Hawaii, San Jose, CA and southern Florida tried to implement their own speed cameras but were shut down after being challenged in court. Also, thirteen states have specific laws specifically banning speeding cameras.
While speeding cameras with a display can be found throughout New York, they do not directly result in a speeding ticket being issued. They are more advisory and work well to slow down motorists. However, with the proliferation of red light cameras and the substantial revenue which they generate for the State’s coffers, New York politicians are likely licking their lips at the prospect of another way to “tax” New York motorists. It, therefore, would not surprise me if New York becomes the third state to implement a speeding camera system.
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I have a Garmin Nuvi GPS in my car and with a simple Google search was able to find a red light camera and speedcam POI database for the US and Europe which I preloaded into my unit. Now when I approach a red light camera within 500ft, my GPS warns me with an audible alert and shows me right on the map display where the camera is. This is fully legal, as I am not aware of any laws prohibiting motorists from being forwarned of these revenue generating cameras..err…I mean traffic enforcement devices. The speedcam POIs will warn me if of any approaching speedcams and if I am exceeding the posted speed limit. I like my freedom and if they implement these speed cameras, then I will hide my license plates behind a plexiglass difraction screen to obscure the camera from snapping a photo. I’m not claiming I speed, but if everyone is doing 65mph in a 50mph zone and slowing down will risk my getting rear ended, then I shouldn’t get ticketed for speeding in trying to avoid a 10 car pileup.