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Police Ticket Motionless Car for Speeding

Police rely on radar guns, speed cameras and other technologies to catch motorists committing moving violations and other driver infractions. But in some instances, these high-tech devices may cause a few errors of their own.

A driver in Baltimore, Md., was recently issued a $40 ticket for driving 38 miles per hour in a 25-mph speed zone. Nothing unusual about that — except at the time, his car wasn't moving at all. It was stopped at a red light, a fact made clear in the photos and video clip that accompanied the speeding citation, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Motorist Daniel Doty, who decided to appeal his speeding ticket, told the Baltimore Sun, it's "shockingly obvious" from the police images that the car was stopped at the time the ticket was generated. Ticketing procedures are supposed to go through several layers of verification to ensure there are no errors, according to Baltimore's speed camera contractor, Xerox State and Local Solutions.

There is some evidence that cash-strapped states and municipalities may look to traffic violations to compensate for the reduced tax revenues that often accompany an economic downturn: Looking at 14 years of data from North Carolina, researchers found that a 1 percent decrease in local government revenue over the course of a year resulted in a 0.32 percent increase in the number of traffic tickets issued the following year. There's no proof, however, that economics was the case in the Baltimore incident.

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Marc Lallanilla
Marc Lallanilla has been a science writer and health editor at and a producer with His freelance writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and Marc has a Master's degree in environmental planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin.