Sunday, March 10, 2013

The speed camera vans in Howard County

After red light cameras these speed camera vans seem to be the most talked about topic I see when I Google the Howard County Police speed traps.  There was quite a fuss a few years ago when Maryland State Senator Jim Robey proposed letting the Maryland Counties set up their own speed camera programs.  Jim Robey has a long history in Howard County.

State Senator Jim Robey was the Howard County police chief from 1991-98 and then County Executive of Howard County from 1999 to 2006.  I thought he was a great police chief but as the County Executive  he oversaw and allowed more like promoted massive housing development expansion in Howard County turning what was green everywhere to streets and buildings which caused many of the traffic and speeding problems we see today in Howard county.   That is probably why he has been on a mission in the State Senate to have the police be our driving mommies:  to outlaw phone calls, texting while driving and allowing speed cameras in the state.  Those were his initiatives.
As I recall in 2010 Howard County took their time after the state bill passed to decide what to do as they studied the problem.  In 2011 they finally decided to put up signs a few miles around every school and church warning that they were 'photo enforced' and to have a few (rotating ) speed camera vans sitting on the side of the roads.

Here is a commonly posted picture of a speed camera sitting along the side of the road waiting for drivers to drive past it so it can detect their speed while driving away from it.   The laser detector shoots through the front windshield detecting your speed as you drive way from them, and it makes a big flash so everyone knows what they did.

This means that you can see them miles away even in the dark long before they can get you.
And from what I can tell they dont regularly try to catch those driving in the opposite direction from them only those driving away from them after they have been passed.   I have sited them dozens of times while driving in daylight and darkness and you can speed right up to them and then slow down as you drive away from them and they will only detect you driving slowly away from them.

The Howard County Times posted a photo of one of the vans that they claim was taken on Saint John's lane, The van was hiding behind a bush on the grass on the opposite side of the way traffic goes so they could catch those speeding towards them, because as I said they only speed detect and photo through the front windshield.

I personally have never seen them try this and it sounds dangerous and possibly illegal (parking pointing toward on-coming traffic),   Every speed photo van trap I have seen has been pointing the camera ahead to capture those driving away on the same side. 

The Howard County police (real police) speed traps are different.  Their cars are jet black and designed stealthy and they hide and even can detect your cars speed through their side passenger window while nosing out of a side street.   Their tickets can give you points on your drivers license increasing your insurance premiums and you can lose your drivers licence from them..

They are the real threat to us gettiing fines and points., The little white vans are just toys,
More on the police car traps later.


  1. Click It or Ticket: I got ticketed by the Hoco Police for not having my seatbelt on properly. I'm in the habit of having the cross-chest under my arm. Saw the police and moved it to the correct position. Too late - $25.

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