Friday, December 26, 2008

Speed Camera Woes

I'm strongly against automatic traffic enforcement. Not the least of my complaints is that the guilty until proven innocent procedure that most of them use is unconstitutional. The systems are sold to communities as a fund raising program.

So, it is with great pleasure that I read about high school students in Montgomery County, Maryland gaming the system. They've exposed a huge flaw in camera based systems with no human review: you can cheaply fool the system with fake plates.

Originating from Wootton High School, the parent said, students duplicate the license plates by printing plate numbers on glossy photo paper, using fonts from certain websites that "mimic" those on Maryland license plates. They tape the duplicate plate over the existing plate on the back of their car and purposefully speed through a speed camera, the parent said. The victim then receives a citation in the mail days later.

Unfortunately, I can already guess what the county will do about this. They'll increase patrols to catch a few kids with fake license plates. They have to spend money to protect their investment.

Still, we can sit back and laugh as pranks like these increase the cost of automatic enforcement all over the country. Spread the word.

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