Thousands of drivers are being caught dashing within the Maryland work zones closest to the D.C. area — and fines for violators have simply doubled below a brand new legislation that went into impact earlier this month.

WTOP obtained the information on Maryland dashing tickets by way of a Freedom of Information Act request.

In the broader D.C. space, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) has deployed pace cameras at work zones on:

  • Route 100 westbound on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Hanover.
  • Route 100 eastbound on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Hanover.
  • Route 29 northbound at Broken Land Parkway in Columbia.
  • I-95 southbound at Guilford Road in Columbia.

Since Aug. 7, 2023, the Route 100 westbound digicam has given out 17,058 citations, in response to state knowledge as of June 7. The eastbound Route 100 digicam began giving citations on Dec. 4, and as of final week has given out 4,131.

The digicam at Route 29 has given out 7,772 citations since late January, in response to state knowledge.

As of final week, the most recent digicam of the group, at I-95 and Guilford Road, has issued 426 tickets since April 29.

While they’re giving tickets to hundreds of drivers, state leaders say the aim of this system is to maintain work zones protected.

“It shouldn’t be a device to subject citations,” Teri Soos, deputy chief working officer with the Maryland SHA, advised WTOP. “That shouldn’t be what we’re in search of. We’re in search of compliance.”

Overall, as a part of the state’s contract with its vendor, the company has 10 cameras and might deploy them in about 20 places, as a result of they function in eight-hour shifts.

The state has been utilizing automated pace cameras in work zones since 2009. They’re usually positioned on roadways with pace limits of at the very least 45 mph that could be narrower or the place there are complicated lane configurations. They may be positioned in areas the place there’s a multi-year mission and particular concern for employee security.

The company places up indicators indicating the photograph enforcement and a pace suggestions gadget, which tells drivers their speeds earlier than attending to the a part of the work zone the place the digicam is. Currently, there’s a 12 mph buffer earlier than a digicam points a ticket.

“We need individuals to decelerate for their very own security in work zones, in addition to that of the employees on the roadways,” Soos mentioned.

Fines doubled beginning June 1

Earlier this yr, Gov. Wes Moore signed the Maryland Road Worker Protection Act into legislation. That modified the high quality of a piece zone pace digicam ticket from $40, which Soos mentioned is among the many lowest within the nation, to $80, efficient June 1. In January, fines shall be decided based mostly on a tiered system that considers how briskly above the pace restrict a driver goes. Those fines will even double when there are staff current.

The income from pace digicam tickets pays for this system, Soos mentioned. Some of it goes to Maryland State Police, and below the brand new legislation, some shall be allotted for the transportation belief fund for use for security initiatives.

As a part of the modifications, the State Highway Administration will even put blue lights on the cameras and use flashing lights when staff are on web site.

“Once individuals get used to the work zone being positioned, the signing there, and the location of the digicam, we do are inclined to see good compliance charges, about 99%,” Soos mentioned.

In addition to the cameras, the company can also be utilizing troopers in work zones. That serves as a further warning for drivers to decelerate, and police enforcement is “a greater device for us,” Soos mentioned. However, police have restricted sources, so their presence isn’t at all times constant.

“More and extra compliance is our aim,” Soos mentioned. “We need drivers to be protected in our work zone.”

Last yr, 12 individuals died in work zone crashes. So far this yr, there have been eight, in response to an company information launch. In many circumstances, Soos mentioned, crashes in work zones result in accidents or dying for drivers and passengers extra usually than staff.

“About 20% of the time, it’s a employee on the facet of the roadway,” Soos mentioned.

The laws now in impact is likely one of the suggestions from the Maryland Work Zone Safety Work Group. Moore assembled the group following the March 2023 work zone crash that killed six freeway staff on the Baltimore Beltway.

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