More than 750,000 tickets have been issues to motorists nabbed by cameras for violating speed limits in Maryland highway work zones in the past two years, bringing in more than $30 million in revenue to the state, according to a report in the Washington Examiner.
The cameras have issued 767,697 citations since the program started in September 2009, according to data from the Maryland State Highway Administration. At $40 a ticket, speeding has cost drivers $30.7 million in fines.
AAA Mid-Atlantic called the state’s work zone safety effort "the least controversial of the photo enforcement programs” and found that motorists are slowing down to an average of 5 mph over the speed limit in work zones.
“Maryland’s work zone speed cameras are having the desired effects: decreasing the number of speeders in highway construction zones in the region and across the state and reducing the number and the severity of crashes in the work zones,” AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John Townsend said.
According to David Buck, highway administration spokesman, studies have shown a 50% reduction in the number of drivers who average 10 mph or more in work zones.
The program has drawn criticism from some because unlike other speed camera programs, the work zone enforcement runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. State Sen. James Brochin, D-Baltimore County, plans to reintroduce legislation to have the cameras shut off during hours when workers aren’t present.
Ron Ely, editor of StopBigBrotherMD.org, said most of the tickets issued by the state’s program are drivers caught speeding during non-work hours.
But state highway officials told the Examiner that work zones still post dangers to motorists without the presence of construction workers.
“It’s a pretty fair allowance of 12 mph over the limit in the law,” Buck said. “When you’re in these work zones, whether workers are in it or not, there’s still reduced lane widths, buffers, and everything that makes it a work zone.”