How Maryland Is Raking in Fines from “Port-a-Potty” Speed Cameras


Maryland is notorious for implementing speed cameras throughout the state, especially in areas that are under heavy construction. The goal is simple: to reduce the speed of vehicles in advance of and through work zones to prevent crashes and save lives. There are 17 different active radar cameras located in construction zones across the state through Maryland’s “SafeZones” program. But what you may not know is that these cameras—usually attached to small SUVs parked on the shoulder of highway lanes—are often hidden behind roadside port-a-potties.

Many Maryland drivers are frustrated by the hidden speed cameras because they’re difficult to spot behind the gray and blue port-a-potties. But Maryland highway officers say the setup has nothing to do with camouflage or trickery. Instead, officials say they’re simply trying to keep motorists to a safe speed through the work zone, and the port-a-potty is there so that the vehicle operator can use it at their leisure. State law requires the operator to be present when the radar and camera are active. If they work a lengthy shift, eventually, nature calls.

What Are Maryland Speed Camera Infractions?

The often hidden SUVs are rigged with a portable radar device and camera which captures the speed and license plate of any vehicle traveling over 66 miles per hour. The speed limit on highways is 55 mph, but drivers are given an 11-mph buffer.

Each infraction incurs a $40 fine, and there are no points assigned to an individual’s driving record. Likewise, these types of tickets are civil infractions and don’t carry any criminal ramifications. Nevertheless, though Maryland speed camera infractions are often considered minor offenses, they can produce an unwanted burden for the individual involved.

After a police officer reviews the photograph taken by the speed camera, a citation will be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle. The driver can choose to either pay the fine or contest the ticket at a Maryland District Court. Failure to respond to the ticket can result in additional fees and penalties.

Can Maryland Speed Cameras Provide Inaccurate Results?

It may seem counterintuitive to imagine that a machine imprecisely recorded your speed. However, there are several defenses against speed tickets that you and your lawyer may consider. Here are a few:

  • You may not have been driving the car: You may be the registered owner of the vehicle but not the person who was driving the car at the time of the violation. If that’s the case, you must provide the judge with evidence substantiating your claim. This can include a document from your employer stating that you were at work at the time or a record from your doctor proving that you couldn’t drive because of a disability or sickness.
  • The speed camera malfunctioned: Technology is never perfect. Your attorney can help you examine the maintenance records of the device in order to question its accuracy.
  • A blatant error: If you notice an obvious mistake with your speeding ticket—like if the picture of the vehicle in question isn’t your car—contact the police department issuing the citation who may be able to dismiss the case without a hearing.
  • There are other vehicles in the photo: You may also contend that, if there are other vehicles in the citation images, the violation may have been improperly assigned to you.
  • Improper signage: You can protect your rights if the signs in the area were obstructed, missing, or non-standard.

If you wish to contest your speed camera infraction, begin by finding a Baltimore traffic lawyer who can help you gather the evidence necessary to fight against your allegations. An attorney will then be able to request a hearing at one of the Maryland District Courts and appeal on your behalf at the scheduled hearing. The attorney will make arguments to the judge and provide them with evidence that may dismiss your citation completely.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Traffic Attorney in Baltimore After a Traffic Offense

If you received a traffic violation from a speed camera, there’s always a possibility that the camera or a member of the Maryland Department of Transportation wrongfully cited you for speeding. Fight back against your ticket with the help of a traffic lawyer who contests charges in Maryland. An attorney like Hillel Traub will see to it that you achieve the best possible outcome in your traffic case. Minor traffic violations can unexpectedly cause long-term problems with your privilege to drive in Maryland, which is why it is crucial to seek intelligent representation.

Hillel Traub previously served as an Assistant Attorney General for the Maryland MVA and has experience working with people who are accused of traffic violations. With his unique insight into the agency’s operations, he can make a strong case for you that may help you avoid any frustrating penalties. Give us a call at (410) 850-1100 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation today.