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For Safety Or For Money? Task Force To Evaluate Baltimore's Speed Cameras

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—For nearly 10 years traffic cams have been keeping drivers under the radar and safe. But now the city is reviewing its effectiveness.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on a new police report.

A special committee has been put together by the city to determine if the automated traffic systems are effectively promoting traffic and pedestrian safety especially near school zones. Of course, drivers say it's just a way to make money.

Traffic accidents account for hundreds of deaths per year in Baltimore City.

Like many others across the country, the city installed traffic cams almost 10 years ago to help drop the death rate caused by speeding drivers and red light runners, so far they say it's working.

"Particularly with the red light cameras, we've seen a significant drop in crashes," said Jamie Kendrick, of Baltimore City Department of Transportation.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says the city now wants to make sure it's being used effectively and revenue made is used properly.

"I think it's important to have an understanding of where the revenue trends are headed," the mayor said.

In the last year Baltimore City racked in nearly $20 million from the I-83 speed cameras scattered across the city.

And while the city says the cameras are for safety, some say it's just a money-making machine.

Naomi Lambert lives directly across from one speed camera hidden inside a metal box.

"Another money-making process," Lambert said.

"I don't like them," another driver said.

In a matter of 10 minutes, WJZ witnessed five cars speeding by. At $40 a pop, that's $200 owed to the city.

"They get you for nothing really, and someone else could be speeding past you, and I got a ticket like that I had to pay," said Thomas Williams.

The city says the process is simple. If you don't speed you don't get a ticket, and making sure the cameras are installed near school zones is vital.

"It's an important safety tool that we are going to keep using whether or not people like getting speeding tickets or red light tickets," Kendrick said.

Some speed cameras are located within a quarter of a mile from a school.

The committee includes people from the Maryland State Highway Administration and Baltimore City Police.

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