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  1. #1

    Default Invalid "Your Speed" Sign

    A little over a month ago I was driving on I-695 in the Baltimore area, and went into an area with construction. Of course they already had the speed cameras up and running.

    These speed cameras are paired with a sign that has "YOUR SPEED: xx" and "SPEED LIMIT: xx". After the sign, they have the speed camera.

    While I am NO FAN of speed cameras, I think this situation is a particularly insidious instance of their use.

    I looked at the sign and noticed it was reading ~10 MPH below my actual speed. It said I was well within the 50 MPH work zone speed limit. There was a vehicle to my left who was going slightly faster it started tracking which it also said was within the speed limit. As soon as we hit the speed camera ZAP it got his picture. He was ticketed despite the sign saying he was within legal limits.

    SO, I contacted the State Highway Administration:

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Lohr
    I was driving on I-695 Westbound Near Towson at approximately 2:30 AM on Saturday, June 5, 2010. I do not know the exact location, however it was the first area of this description west of the I-695/I-95 interchange. I took notice of the sign that has "Your Speed" and "Speed Limit" listed next to each other, however I was perplexed by the numbers it was reading. At the time I saw the sign I was in the center lane, driving at least 50 MPH. There was another vehicle in the far left lane driving faster than I was. I took careful notice of the "Your Speed" it flashed 44 and then 47. Both vehicles were moving at least or in excess of 50 MPH. I believe the other vehicle had a picture snapped of it I did not notice a marked increase or decrease in speed of the vehicle to my left.

    I am certain I was driving at least 50 MPH both a few hundred feet away from and immediately before the sign as I have been careful to matching my speedometer to actual speed determined by GPS. The "Your Speed" sign never read a number even close to 50 MPH. This means it was telling drivers they were going slower than they actually were. This likely caused drivers to believe that they were in fact not speeding and may have even caused them to increase their speed. 80% of the time the sign read correctly, but 20% it read wildly wrong answers. Shouldn't this be enough to notify the people who received a ticket from this camera so they would have something to go to court with?

    I feel that any action taken with these pictures would be inappropriate because of the inaccuracy of the first "Your Speed" system, drivers were mislead.

    I hereby request that this incident be investigated. Please notify me of the outcome of the investigation.

    Charles Lohr

    They VERY promptly responded (almost to my surprise)

    Quote Originally Posted by SHA
    Dear Mr. Lohr –

    Thank you for your recent email regarding the speed display sign along I-695 at the Charles Street interchange. My office will look into your inquiry and follow up with you by Monday, June 14, 2010.

    If you have any questions in the meantime, you can contact me at 410-787-XXXX or by return email at (email was here).

    In the mean time I went back to the site and recorded videos. I did so at 1:30 AM and made sure to only take readings when there were NO vehicles anywhere nearby. I recorded one of the sign reporting 39 MPH when I was going 49 (this time verified by GPS). I recorded another of it reading 69 and then 67 when I was going 54 MPH.

    Sure enough they dragged their feet at the actual response.

    Quote Originally Posted by SHA
    Dear Mr. Lohr –

    Good afternoon! I hope you are well.

    Please accept my apologies for my late response. After removing the particular piece of equipment from service and conducting operational testing on the equipment, we determined that the speed display sign to which you referred in your inquiry is functioning properly. As a supplement to this activity, we also compared the speed data collected on the automated speed enforcement (ASE) equipment with the speed displays (on the sign). This additional data was captured during test runs that were conducted on the evening of June 8, 2010.

    While we cannot explain the anomaly that could have occurred in your instance, we can assure you that the equipment is functioning as intended. If you have additional questions on this matter or would like to discuss it further, please contact me at 410-787-XXXX or by return email at (email was here).

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles
    Michael [lastname],

    Thank you for getting back to me on this topic. I returned to the same location on Thursday, June 10 from 1:00 to 2:00 AM and recorded a video. I made approximately ten passes. Each time I waited until there were no other vehicles nearby.

    On eight out of the ten passes, the sign showed my speed precicely. On two out of the ten times, the sign read a number significantly different than my normal speed. The only video that shows this clearly along with a look around my vehicle is one pass when I was going between 47 and 49 MPH and the sign showed 39 MPH.

    I still have the original videos on the camera if that would be desired. I copied it off and re-encoded it for internet distribution. If the video appears choppy, I can provide the original file in .AVI format.

    Thursday, June 10 <<<The link would be here, but I can't seem to post links>>>

    The other video is of the sign reading approximately 13-19 MPH higher than the speed I was travelling on two separate readings.

    What could explain this behavior, considering it (or another) sign at this location has on two separate dates shown similar, and erroneous behavior.

    Charles Lohr
    Mr. Lohr –

    Good afternoon and thanks for your email. We certainly appreciate your interest in our automated speed enforcement (ASE) program.

    We are pleased that in eight of the ten circumstances you have described, the speed display equipment provided feedback that matched your observations in your vehicle. At the same time, we also understand the limitations of stationary radar equipment in the high speed, high volume environment of expressways and freeways. That is, the speed display may not register on the equipment in a manner that will reflect all of the approaching vehicles speeds.

    We don’t consider this a “fatal flaw,” though. The main purpose of the speed display is to encourage motorists to review/monitor their speed as they travel through work zones, especially where ASE equipment is present. Our office is in the process of conducting additional evaluations of the equipment to determine what may contributed to the displays you documented. This evaluation includes the affect/impact of the two vehicles whose drivers reduced speed in the vicinity of the speed display trailer.

    Thanks again for your email. I hope to be able to discuss this matter with you early next week, at the completion of our additional testing. If you’d like to discuss in the meantime, please contact me at 410-787-XXXX or by return email.


    I didn't really know where else to go other than the Internet. I don't think this is newsworthy or anything.

    I have no idea where to go from here. It's been almost a month since his last email. Who do I contact? Do the people who received a ticket from this speed camera have a prayer in court if they were given this information?

    The address to the one video is :

    The forum won't let me link.

    *EDIT* Also: I am particularly alarmed that the SHA claims this sign was within calibration despite it reading completely bogus speeds even when only tracking single cars.
    Last edited by CNLohr; 07-19-2010 at 11:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Default Re: Invalid "Your Speed" Sign

    I have not been on I-695 recently, but the section of I-83 from the PA/MD line until exit 15 or so is currently under construction and I pass 2-3 speed signs each way (two of which shoot Ka which I thought was interesting). I have not noticed any drastic error, but I have noticed the signs 6-7mph off. Now, I havent done any testing but the times I really took note of it there were no other cars for a fairly good distance (at least .2-.3 miles) and it sort of threw me off. So far it has only read lower than my speed, so I am not too concerned.



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