A Maryland District Court judge upheld the accuracy of speed cameras in College Park less than a week after AAA Mid-Atlantic said the cameras were exploiting drivers.
Local resident Will Foreman, who has racked up 60 citations from the cameras and is challenging their accuracy in court, was found guilty of speeding in 15 of the incidents. He is scheduled to bring another 15 citations to court on Friday.
Foreman, who won the first five cases he took to court a few months ago, said he plans to appeal the new decision.
Foreman and AAA Mid-Atlantic representatives say the cameras, distributed by Lanham company Optotraffic, are inaccurate because they don't produce accurate time-stamped photos that demonstrate the speed at which the vehicles were traveling.
However, Optotraffic Senior Account Manager Mickey Shepherd, who manages the implementation of the cameras in Prince George's County and testified against Foreman, said the photos the cameras produce are intended to prove that a specific vehicle was in a specific place at a specific time.
The cameras are programmed to photograph only those vehicles that are traveling 12 or more miles per hour above the speed limit, he said, so the fact that a photo was produced proves the vehicle was speeding.
About 30 Optotraffic speed cameras are being used in 14 municipalities in Prince George's County, according to Shepherd. Starting Sept. 21, another 15 cameras will be in operation, and the county will install 72 systems in the next year.
Judge Gerard Devlin, who presided over the case, said once Shepherd explained how the cameras worked, Foreman would have needed to provide expert testimony explaining that the cameras are faulty to disprove Shepherd's argument.
"He's a layperson, and lay people in courtrooms aren't supposed to give opinions. Only experts give opinions," Devlin said. "Basically Mr. Foreman put up no defense."
AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman Lon Anderson said the advocacy group is questioning Devlin's judgment.
"We are much more concerned about the fairness and due process than we were before," he said.