Speed camera company quits as equipment challenged

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Local,Maryland,Transportation,Ben Giles
Optotraffic ran expanding Prince George's program

The company that Prince George's County has hired to run its growing speed camera program pulled out of Cheverly after local officials criticized the company's frequent equipment malfunctions and failures to schedule court dates for challenged tickets on time.

Optotraffic terminated its contract with Cheverly in August, announcing that the Lanham company had "successfully accomplished its mission" to reduce speeding in the town.

Cheverly's cameras issued about one ticket per day in August, according to spokesman Mickey Shepherd, compared with more than 400 in July 2010.

"The connection between obeying the speed limit and our automated enforcement system is clear to us," Shepherd said.

But a series of letters sent to the company by Town Administrator David Warrington outline a history of errors on Optotraffic's part, from poorly calibrated cameras to delays in court schedules that led to illegitimate late fees being charged to motorists.

On May 10, the town could issue only two of 20 violations because the quality of Optotraffic's pictures was so poor, Warrington wrote.

Invisible vehicles were cited going speeds of 76 mph, while bicycles were clocked going 38 and 57 mph, he wrote.

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