2/23/2008Connecticut: Thousands Face Bogus Speeding Tickets
More than 83,000 motorists could face bogus speeding convictions if Connecticut approves photo enforcement program.
Earlier this month, Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell (R) announced as part of her state budget submission that she intended to generate millions in new revenue with a freeway speed camera program. As the Hartford Courant pointed out, this puts more than 83,000 motorists in the state at risk because their license plate numbers are shared by drivers with a different type of license plate. Like many states, Connecticut considers a plate with a number on a regular plate different from the same number appearing on a specialty plate.
The system poses no problem for human police officers issuing speeding citations, but around the country it has caused thousands who have done nothing wrong to pay fines for crimes they never committed. For example, New Jersey toll road cameras accused hundreds of Nebraska motorists of cheating because commercial trucking plates can have the same number as a regular automobile plate. Thousands of Fast Lane and E-ZPass customers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire were improperly billed because camera companies make no attempt to verify offenses before mailing a ticket to a car that shares a license number with a specialty plate on a different vehicle.
Even without the statewide program in place, Connecticut residents have been falsely accused by ticket cameras in other states. A New York City red light camera ordered West Hartford surgeon Dr Ahmed Khan to pay $50 because a 40-passenger bus with a plate number identical to the one on his passenger vehicle ran a red light. It took several calls from a Courant columnist and letters from state officials before New York canceled the fine. Loretta Colone likewise was twice wrongly accused by New York City even though photographs clearly showed a Ford Windstar minivan running the light, not Colone's 1989 Ford Mustang. She received no compensation for the time she spent to get the improper citations canceled.