You know those signs that you’ll pass sometimes while cruising down the highway that read “speed photo enforced?” As it turns out, those are for real – they’re not a joke or an idle threat. Captain obvious here again, in possession of her first ticket issued by the state of Maryland, to tell you what you already know: they really are using the cameras to enforce your speed. Oops.
I can tell you exactly why I didn’t take the signs seriously – I thought they were crying wolf. There are a plethora of signs about speeding/speeding enforcement, and most of the time, they’re a bluff or one just doesn’t get caught. Let me provide an illustration from personal experience. I used to spend a lot of time driving between Indiana and Kansas on I-70 and often saw signs that said “speed limit enforced by aircraft.” Oh really? Out here in a cornfield in southern Illinois you’re sending stealth aircraft to monitor my speed, take a picture, and bill me later? Or perhaps your resident crop dusters just weren’t having a banner year and lobbied for a source of supplemental income? Either way, I wasn’t buying it. You might as well have informed me that fairies were planning to pop out of the median and flag me over whereupon a unicorn would issue me a ticket for all that I believed in them. So I sped drove carefully past those signs with complete disdain and ne’er a ticket was issued.
So for my first several trips on I-270, I was sure the same thing was happening. I saw the signs (cue up Ace of Base). But, I never spotted a camera and I noticed that my fellow travelers were all still driving merrily along, far exceeding the speed limit, and thus came to the conclusion that these speed warning signs were a hoax. “Ahh Interstate 70 and your auxiliary roads,” I chuckled, “thank you for yet another clever notice, you really are just too much!” I kept on chuckling too until I received an interesting piece of mail from the state of Maryland. (I’m confident you know where this is going). Sure enough, plain as day, there was our car, buzzing happily down a country road, and there was my fee due. I was no longer laughing.
In fairness, they did warn me, pretty clearly, with rather large signs, so in the end I guess all I can say is this: congratulations Montgomery County, you got me, now please just put my check to good use. And, uhm, just to be on the safe side, if there do happen to be aircraft that monitor speed, please go easy on me – nobody wants a scene from Top Gun.