Md. Considering More Speed Cameras
Police and state transportation officials packed a Maryland General Assembly committee hearing yesterday to endorse a bill that would allow jurisdictions across the state to use cameras to ticket speeders. The bill also would allow their use in road construction zones.
State senators on the Judicial Proceedings Committee asked the same questions that many readers asked when the speed camera program began last year in Montgomery County: Why is this necessary? Are the cameras effective? What if you're not the driver of the vehicle speeding? Is this a revenue-raiser?
The measure (Senate Bill 269 and House Bill 364) has two parts: One would give local governments the right to create a speed camera system after holding a public hearing and enacting an ordinance. The other would allow their use in the roadway work zones.
The bills are backed by the governor, and were introduced by the Senate president and the House speaker, but the General Assembly has taken no action yet. (The District has a speed camera program with some different rules. Virginia has no speed cameras.)
Some similarities to the Montgomery County pilot program:
-- The camera locations must be publicized.
-- The camera zones must be marked by warning signs.
-- Residential neighborhoods and school areas are eligible.
-- The vehicle must be exceeding the posted speed limit by at least 10 mph to get photographed.
-- The fine notice goes to the vehicle owner.
-- Fines can be appealed.
-- Payments to the program's contractor cannot be based on the violations issued.
-- Roadways with a maximum speed of 45 mph would be eligible for cameras. (In the Montgomery program, the limit is 35 mph.)
-- A warning period of one year would precede ticketing.
-- Fines could go as high as $75. (The limit in Montgomery is $40.)
-- The measure allows the state to set up cameras in road work zones.
Many of the police and transportation officials who testified at the hearing in Annapolis said they wouldn't mind if the program lost money, because that would indicate it was working.
Speaking on behalf of the work zone cameras, State Highway Administrator Neil Pedersen said: "Our objective is to get people to slow down so we have safer work zones."
State Transportation Secretary John Porcari said the cameras are a "powerful safety tool."
"Work zones are the most dangerous places for workers and motorists," he said. "Sometimes, there's only an orange barrel between construction workers and vehicles moving at 65 mph or more."
But he added that 80 percent of accident victims in work zones are in the vehicles.
Stephen L. Oesch of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which studied the impact of the Montgomery cameras, said in his testimony that "Speeding is a major factor in motor vehicle crashes." It was a contributing factor in about a third of the crash deaths that occurred in 2006, he said. Nearly 90 percent of speeding-related fatalities occur on roads other than interstate highways, according to his testimony.
The House Environmental Matters Committee also is scheduled to hold a hearing on the measure today at 1 p.m.
Posted by: Josey23 | February 20, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Autobahn | February 20, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Bill | February 20, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: lanhampete | February 20, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anonymous | February 20, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: North Potomac | February 20, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Historian | February 20, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: pj4521 | February 20, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: dgc | February 20, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Germantown | February 20, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: wyb | February 20, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anonymous | February 20, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Perry Mason | February 20, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anonymous | February 20, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anonymous | February 21, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anonymous | February 25, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anonymous | February 25, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anonymous | February 25, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.