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Monday, December 22, 2008

"Pimping" speeding cameras in Maryland and Australia

In Maryland, teens are using speeding cameras to "exact revenge." Here's the story from the Sentinel:

As a prank, students from local high schools have been taking advantage of the county's Speed Camera Program in order to exact revenge on people who they believe have wronged them in the past, including other students and even teachers.

Students from Richard Montgomery High School dubbed the prank the Speed Camera "Pimping" game, according to a parent of a student enrolled at one of the high schools.

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.

Students are even obtaining vehicles from their friends that are similar or identical to the make and model of the car owned by the targeted victim, according to the parent.

"This game is very disturbing," the parent said. "Especially since unsuspecting parents will also be victimized through receipt of unwarranted photo speed tickets.

The parent said that "our civil rights are exploited," and the entire premise behind the Speed Camera Program is called into question as a result of the growing this fad among students.

U.S. teens are not the only ones to engage in this sort of mischief. Australian youngsters are also taking advantage of speeding cameras for a much more appropriate form of vengeance:

Australian trouble-makers

h/t LRC

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on December 22, 2008 | Permalink

Comments

Jaws,

That's pretty funny stuff. But on a serious note, you have neglected one of your duties here. I believe this picture should be the next AWESOME Obama picture of the day:

http://www.tmz.com/2008/12/22/barack-hard-abs/

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-12-22 5:22:30 PM


Wow! That's very inventive of them. Especially the Australian guys. (Does anyone remember that police car scene in American Graffiti?:)
Just think, if something like that took off wholesale they might have to put away the little roadside cash machines in the face of all the complaints.

Posted by: JC | 2008-12-22 5:41:12 PM


I do see the humour in the Aussie example but the revenge example is not the least bit amusing. It should be easy enough to challenge the ticket but the time spent and the inconvenience to the victim is not easy to justify. If caught the perpetrators will likely get a slap on the wrist when they should get the same kind of fine as I would receive if I drove an unlicensed vehicle.

Posted by: DML | 2008-12-22 6:47:20 PM


It should be easy enough to challenge the ticket but the time spent and the inconvenience to the victim is not easy to justify.
Posted by: DML | 2008-12-22 6:47:20 PM

And that is where the system might have to be reigned in...in the face of all the complaints about how its being abused. I'd love to see the little cash registers taken off the roads...

This photo radar system is about revenues, not justice.

Posted by: JC | 2008-12-23 8:31:51 AM


"Playing games" with a speed camera by driving at high speeds with an unreadable/"stolen" license plate is downright irresponsible as well as dangerous. This "game" cost the lives of 4 innocent people about 20 years ago in Quebec, when the police gave chase, and the speedster rammed into an unsuspecting vehicle, killing 4 persons on the spot. What a great game...

Posted by: Nothing New Under the Sun | 2008-12-23 8:39:40 AM


About 20 years ago, a person was caught by a speed camera in Quebec. When he realized it, the driver thought he would have some fun. He bent the license plate so it was unreadable and then drove by at high speed a couple of times. Police thought it was not fun anymore and gave chase. The speedster ran a few red lights and rammed into an unsuspecting vehicle, killing 4 innocent people on the spot. He got 30 months. Nice game...

Posted by: Nothing New Under the Sun | 2008-12-23 8:44:09 AM


The speedster ran a few red lights and rammed into an unsuspecting vehicle, killing 4 innocent people on the spot. He got 30 months. Nice game...
Posted by: Nothing New Under the Sun | 2008-12-23 8:44:09 AM

Got a link for that story.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-12-23 9:05:00 AM


It happened in 1987 in Ste-Foy, just outside of Quebec City. The guy's name is Patrice Galipeau. Besides getting 30 months, he also lost an eye in the accident. I googled Galipeau, because I vaguely remembered the incident.

The big stink at the time was that he stood to get more compensation from the SAAQ than what was given the victims' families.

Sorry for the previous double post.

Posted by: Nothing New Under the Sun | 2008-12-23 1:12:51 PM


I never understood the bizarre "licensing" and "registration" thingy in North America.

In Germany the insurance is on the CAR not the driver, and if there is a case where the insurance company has to pay they will, in all likelyhood, go after the driver if it isn't also the car owner.

Likewise when it comes to speeding tickets (and those cameras are everywhere in Europe) the driver has to be clearly identifiable in the photo. A nice shot of the license plate is not enough, hence a standard practice is to request the photo for identification purposes and (at least in the past) in a lot of cases the driver wasn't clearly identifiable and you could just refuse the fine with the statement: "Driver not identifiable" (this works for private cars, company cars are required to have a logbook, so you're essentially SOL if you speed in the company car).

As for the: "it's an invasion of privacy", the law in Germany requires that for any permanent speed trap a sign needs to be posted well in advance, the logic being that they are not "cash cows" but rather tools to slow the flow of traffic.

There are some serious privacy gaps in Canadian (and US) legislation.

Mobile speed traps do NOT require the warning, but this isn't really any different from a cop pulling you over here at the side of the road.

To sum it up: NONE of these gags would have worked in Europe because there wouldn't have been enough evidence to convict anybody.

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2008-12-30 2:36:06 AM



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