Speed Camera Pimping Game
Jacqui Cheng reports on a bizarre use of speeding cameras:
Whenever a new, relatively unpopular technology hits the streets, you can always count on teenagers to try and exploit it for their own gain. Such is the case with speed cameras, as high school students in Maryland have begun playing the “Speed Camera Pimping Game,” wherein they attempt to punk the not-so-accurate cameras by creating faux license plates that can be traced back to peers and teachers they have it out for. The trend has parents and law officials worried, and it raises even more questions about the cameras’ usefulness.
Students at Montgomery High School in Maryland have discovered that they can duplicate the license plates of their archenemies by printing a Maryland plate template on a sheet of glossy photo paper and digging up a handy license plate character font, according to a parent speaking to The Sentinel (via /.). This may sound like a janky craft project at first, but these cameras are not sensitive enough to pick up the differences between these paper license plates and the real things. The students then tape the faux plate over their own and purposefully speed in order to be caught by the speed camera, causing the real owner of the license plate to receive a $40 citation in the mail.
“This game is very disturbing,” the parent told the newspaper. “Especially since unsuspecting parents will also be victimized through receipt of unwarranted photo speed tickets. I hope the public at large will complain loudly enough that local Montgomery County government officials will change their policy of using these cameras for monetary gain. The practice of sending speeding tickets to faceless recipients without any type of verification is unwarranted and an exploitation of our rights.”
One presumes getting caught driving with a fake license plate carries significant penalties; but the chances of getting caught are negligible.
Given how hard it is to organize protests against theoretical infringements on rights and how profitable these cameras are, I wouldn’t hold my breath on waiting for their use to be curtailed. As to the victims of this “game,” one presumes “This isn’t the car to which these plates are assigned” would be an effective defense.