By on December 20, 2008

High school students in Maryland are using speed cameras as a tool to fine innocent drivers in a game, according to the Montgomery County Sentinel newspaper. Because photo enforcement devices will automatically mail out a ticket to any registered vehicle owner based solely on a photograph of a license plate, any driver could receive a ticket if someone else creates a duplicate of his license plate and drives quickly past a speed camera. The private companies that mail out the tickets often do not bother to verify whether vehicle registration information for the accused vehicle matches the photographed vehicle. In the UK, this is known as number plate cloning, where thieves will find the license information of a vehicle similar in appearance to the one they wish to drive. They will use that information to purchase a real license plate from a private vendor using the other vehicle’s numbers. This allows the “cloned” vehicle to avoid all automated punishment systems. According to the Sentinel, two Rockville, Maryland high schools call their version of cloning the “speed camera pimping game.”

A speed camera is located out in front of Wootton High School, providing a convenient location for generating the false tickets. Instead of purchasing license plates, students have ready access to laser printers that can create duplicate license plates using glossy paper using readily available fonts. For example, the state name of “Maryland” appears on plates in a font similar to Garamond Number 5 Swash Italic. Once the camera flashes, the driver can quickly pull over and remove the fake paper plate. The victim will receive a $40 ticket in the mail weeks later. According to the Sentinel, students at Richard Montgomery High School have also participated, although Montgomery County officials deny having seen any evidence of faked speed camera tickets.

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22 Comments on “Maryland Students Send in the Speed Camera Clones...”


  • avatar
    nonce

    In the old days we called this “civil disobedience.”

    Today we call it “terrorism.”

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    whatever, I call it hilarious. The more stuff like this that happens, the less likely those stupid cameras are to stick around.

  • avatar

    Every system created by human being gets “gamed” by other human beings from the start. If you don’t design your system to AVOID GETTING GAMED (ie in this case matching plate to car registered) then the system you created will break down due to abuse of the gamers.

    Systems Designers know this. The people who make & deploy speed cameras therefore, are idiots.

    –chuck

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Anything that discredits automatic revenue generators has my approval.

  • avatar
    rochskier

    I call this awesome.

    Keep up the good work kids!

  • avatar
    schadenfred

    Honestly I didn’t think the kids at Wooten were usually that smart. Good going. BTW, Maryland plates are black on white. Really easy to spoof.

  • avatar
    NickR

    whatever, I call it hilarious. The more stuff like this that happens, the less likely those stupid cameras are to stick around.

    Word, good for the students.

    BTW if you, for example, have two cars and need to get annual stickers using a good quality copier. Not without its risks, but when you are on a war footing with the province.

    I still remember cruising down the highway and the person next to me had a very convincing looking copy of an Ontario plate proclaiming ‘IM GAY’. I wonder how long before he found out?

  • avatar
    grifonik

    I’m surprised they’re still standing. Why haven’t the students just destroyed them?

  • avatar
    AG

    grifonik, you should be applauding the students more evolved sense of humor.

    That being said, I’m surprised they haven’t come down hard on the students for counterfeiting or something.

  • avatar
    Quadrifoglio

    As a member of Richard Montgomery’s Class of 1986, I say this beats the hell out of our paint-the-boiler-stack Senior Prank. Go Rockets!

  • avatar
    Rev Junkie

    All speed and red-light cameras should be destroyed and any gov’t officials who support them should get hit by a bus. The Traffic Nazis should be stopped!

  • avatar
    grifonik

    The Brits have been dealing with them for longer than most of us in the US. They now have a special feelings for them. They’ve produce quite a few entertaining videos on them!

    Top Gear Speed Camera love

    And more

    And the citizens display their affection

    And here’s your instructional video

  • avatar
    pnnyj

    I bet the unpopular teachers there have been getting a lot of speeding tickets lately.

  • avatar
    NickR

    pnnyj, for the first time in a long time you made me want to be back in high school.

  • avatar
    bobkarafin

    pnnyj : I bet the unpopular teachers there have been getting a lot of speeding tickets lately.

    Even Better: how about finding out what the license numbers of the Mayor or the City Council members are of the towns that use these cameras and punk the living crap out of them?? After a month or so, I bet the majority of them will want to get rid of the cameras!!

  • avatar

    I feel proud that the next generation will be OK !

    Just don’t get caught. You might want to wear that hoody and hat to obscure your face.

    Don’t use the same car twice.

    Good Luck !

  • avatar
    volvo

    how about finding out what the license numbers of the Mayor or the City Council members are of the towns that use these cameras and punk the living crap out of them?

    Might be an appealing idea but I imagine those plate numbers are in the “do not ticket” database. Along with the plates of many other “important” individuals.

  • avatar
    50merc

    “I call it hilarious”
    “Keep up the good work kids!”
    “The Traffic Nazis should be stopped!”
    “I feel proud that the next generation will be OK!”

    It’s a real laff riot, for sure. And who cares about victimizing innocent third parties, when you’re striking a blow against authority! Care-free speeding in a school zone is a fundamental human right.

    Say, would everyone out there send me their names, dates of birth, social security numbers and bank account numbers? The IRS needs to be taught a lesson, and I have in mind some “pranks.”

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    50merc makes a good point. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    I think speed cameras are popular with the politicians because the people want more services than they pay for and those same people will only change their government officials if they don’t come through with the pork.

    A politician could get removed/voted out of office for not bringing home the pork, but apparently, politicians won’t be removed if they put up revenue generating cameras. This is evident based on what’s been happening for the last few years. Any good politician knows that as long as the bacon is on the breakfast table, everything’s cool.

    With that, a case could be made that with speed/redlight cameras, the populace is getting what it really wants!

  • avatar
    VerbalKint

    Ha ha ha. Oh those funny future leaders of Amerika. I wonder how those a-holes would a taste of their own medicine when mommy & daddy got the notification of a ticket they didn’t deserve? Then mummsy or poppsy can deal with a gov’t bureaucrat and and try to explain the error– of course at their own expense of lost wages, lawyer fees and assorted attendant hassles.
    Or of course they could just take away kiddo’s Visa card for a weekend as punishment, pay the fine because that’s less hassle and then enjoy the huge increase in insurance costs their oh-so-clever progeny caused.

    How many of you would like to be sacrificed on that alter, involuntarily, so some coward can make a “statement” at no risk to themselves. Quite a country we’ve become…

  • avatar
    benjaminwright

    Texas private investigator legislation is causing problems for robo-cop traffic enforcement. A Texas judge said the company running a red-light camera was acting illegally because it did not have a private investigator license. On the basis of this ruling, motorists are challenging traffic tickets. The problem started when the legislature said computer forensics experts needed to be licensed like private eyes. See deails: Texas Red Light Camera Litigation –Ben

  • avatar
    BMW325I

    As much as I dislike Alabama I would like to see the first politician to have the balls to place a speed camera in that state and what it looks like in about a week.

    @50merc

    Even if there are cameras it has little power to forcing a driver to slow down their vehicle especially if its a person on a cell phone. There is an invention that was posted on this site about mechanical speed bumps that angle upwards when it senses someone is going too fast. That device will be loads more effective than a camera.


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