State Extends Warning Period for Automated Speed Camera Enforcement Pilot Program

(November 2, 2009) – The warning period for drivers who exceed the speed limit within automated speed enforcement work zones will continue for at least another two weeks. The announcement comes today by the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) and Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA), and the Maryland State Police (MSP). Since the pilot began in early October, more than 900 warning notices are in the hands of drivers whose excessive speed could have caused injuries and fatalities in highway work zones. Once the warning phase of the program ends, MSP and MdTA police will issue citations at a cost of $40 for each one.

“We are extending the warning phase because our goal isn’t to ‘catch’ speeders, but to give citizens an opportunity to change dangerous driving behaviors before MSP and MdTA begin issuing citations,” said SHA Administrator and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative Neil J. Pedersen.

Motorists began receiving warning notices on October 14, approximately two weeks after the Maryland SafeZones pilot program began. SHA, MdTA and MSP will continue working with the pilot program vendor over the next few weeks to finalize the citation review process. SHA issued a Request for Proposal on October 26 for a long term contract.

Maryland SafeZones mobile enforcement vehicles will continue to rotate among eligible work zones throughout the State. Large signs are in place in advance of the work zones to alert drivers of automated speed enforcement use. Crews also place a “speed trailer” to display the posted speed limit and drivers’ speeds in advance of the enforcement vehicle.

In addition to the locations at I-95 between MD 198 and MD 212 (ICC work zone) in Montgomery County and I-695 at Charles Street in Baltimore County, a third work zone at I-95 near White Marsh is now included.

The law allowing automated speed enforcement was passed during the 2009 legislative session and became effective October 1. Transportation Article § 21–810 now allows law enforcement to use speed cameras to fine drivers exceeding the speed limit by 12 MPH or more miles in work zones along controlled access roadways with a 45 mph or more speed limit.

Four out of every five people injured or killed in work zone crashes are drivers or their passengers, not workers. Even when workers are not present, work zones can be dangerous due to reduced lane width, barrier walls, uneven pavement and modified signage placement. On average, 12 people are killed per year and approximately 1,500 people injured in crashes in work zones. Last year, there were seven people killed, and 1,067 people injured in more than 2,000 crashes in work zones.

The fine for a speeding violation issued through the Maryland SafeZones program is $40. Revenue collected from the civil fines will be used to cover the costs of implementing and administering the Maryland SafeZones program. For the first three years, the balance after recovering program costs, if any, will go to an account for police roadside enforcement activities.

Source: Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA)

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