Wicomico County cancels in-car speed cameras contract

A contract with Red Speed USA, the company that operates speed cameras around school zones, will not be renewed by the county.

The mobile camera operation will end in late December, but County Executive Bob Culver said school children will remain as safe as ever.

“There is no jeopardy to our kids at all. Our ability to enforce speed, we still have that in effect, but we won’t have Red Speed. Nothing will change except that company won’t have speed cameras for us anymore. We can still use cameras from other companies if we need to,” he said.

Culver said he canceled the contract because annual revenue to the county was less than $30,000.

“We have to pay an officer to verify the citations once they’re given. The sheriff and I agreed we need our deputies to be doing other things,” he said.

The city of Salisbury operates its own speed camera system, which relies on fixed camera positions along city streets — primarily in or around school zones. The county’s move has no bearing on the city’s system of cameras and ticket collections.

For the past two years, the cameras have been in vehicles provided by the Illinois-based Red Speed USA. Signs inform drivers of their presence and they operate from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays.

Those caught speeding can receive a $40 ticket, and no points. That’s considerably less than the citation given if a driver is stopped by a deputy, Capt. Babe Wilson of the Sheriff’s Office said.

The penalty is $140 for those traveling 10 to 19 mph over the speed limit, with traffic violation points, and higher if the speed is 20 mph or higher than posted, Wilson said.

There are also devices in deputy’s vehicles and city uses stationary speed cameras usually attached to light poles.

Wilson said there have been fewer accidents since the cameras went into effect.

“We monitor success and that’s based on crashes on each area. In the last two years, we have had a significant reduction of crashes. I think we had one recorded crash inside our school zone,” Wilson said.

He said he couldn’t speculate if not having the cameras will have a negative impact “until enough time passes.”

“It’s something we’ll have to adjust to. We will have to find a way to go out and answer those problem areas, if it does become a problem,” Wilson said.

In the city’s most recent budget that took effect July 1, forecasts $860,000 in receipts from the eight cameras inside the city limits. The city collected $778,055 in speed camera fines in fiscal 2014.

The city has since added cameras on Riverside Drive and South Division Street.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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