Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has ordered the state police not to repeat an experiment using night-vision goggles to catch violators of the state’s seat belt law, reports the Baltimore Sun. “The governor is committed to making sure Maryland’s safety belt laws are enforced; however, he does not feel that this is an appropriate use of this type of technology,” said spokeswoman Shareese DeLeaver. “The governor feels the police, not technology, should enforce our safety belt laws.”
Ehrlich pointed to similar concerns in vetoing a bill that would have allowed Montgomery County to use cameras to automate enforcement of speed limits on certain streets. The night-vision operation stemmed from a national campaign to encourage seat belt use during the summer driving season. The commander of a state police barracks borrowed night-vision goggles from the military in an experiment last week to see if the technology could help troopers catch more violators at night. In a three-hour stretch, troopers issued 111 citations for seat belt violations. When news of the operation spread, it became the subject of criticism on talk radio.