By Adam Andrzejewski
The City of Baltimore has collected $62.5 million in fines from 142 speed camera tickets since 2017 through the beginning of 2022.
Speed camera tickets are subject to $40 fines, and since the speed camera program began in July 2017, the city has issued 2,177,642 tickets. At $40 per ticket, that adds up to more than $87 million.
Of course, not all tickets get paid.
According to city records provided via a Maryland Public Information Act request, the collection rate on the speeding fines since 2017 was 71.7 percent.
OpenTheBooks previously reported in May that the city’s red light cameras have collected between $51 million and $62 million, an unknown number because the city’s Department of Transportation and Department of Finance provided our auditors different figures.
The DOT said the city was paid 678,222 fines since 2017, for a total of almost $51 million.
The DOF said it collected 821,242 fines since 2016, for almost $62 million.
Each ticket issued by the red-light cameras is subject to a $75 fine.
After auditing their own records, a DOT spokesperson explained the $11 million discrepancy and confirmed that the figure is in fact $56.2 million in fines from August 2017 through February 2022.
While there were 1,058,859 red-light tickets from 143 cameras issued since 2017 — for a possible more than $79 million in fines — the city collected $56.2 million, a 70.7 percent collection rate.
The $11 million difference in red-light camera fines between the two city agencies was chalked up to the Dept. of Finance overstating its revenue and the Dept. of Transportation understating it.
The spokesperson explained that the Dept. of Finance “erroneously” included red-light camers revenue from March and April and speed camera revenue from February, March and April, as well as other revenue.
The Dept. of Transportation’s revenue calculations were off because a camera vendor left out 16,894 paid violations and didn’t include partially paid violations, the spokesperson said.
The city’s speed cameras came online in 2017 with only 23 cameras.
Officials added more cameras every year — moving to 66 cameras in 2018; 105 cameras in 2019; 130 in 2020 and 144 in 2021, with two coming offline in 2022, at 142.
In 2017, the city issued 170,259 speed camera tickets and collected $3.5 million, based on figures provided by the Dept. of Finance.
The next year, the city issued 439,495 tickets, for $13 million in revenue.
In 2019, 478,505 tickets brought in $15 million in fines.
In 2020, 597,337 tickets resulted in $15.5 million in fines.
Last year, there were 432,836 tickets resulting in $13.5 million.
So far this year, the cameras gave out 59,210 tickets, for $1.8 million in fines.
In January 2021, Fox45 Baltimore reported that the city plans to add to the 142 speed cameras and 140 red light cameras, planning for another 45 new cameras.
The city’s previous network of red light and speed cameras was shut down in 2013 for wrongfully issuing tickets, the Baltimore Sun reported.
An audit showed that at least 10 percent of the citations were wrong, Fox45 Baltimore reported.