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John Townsend
Public Relations Manager, DC
O: (202) 481-6820 (ext. 4462108)
C: (202) 253-2171
jtownsend@aaamidatlantic.com

WASHINGTON, D. C. (Wednesday, August 15, 2018) ––Speed cameras are posted in work zones along the Capital Beltway to make drivers “think twice” before speeding in the sprawling construction area.  Yet during their first year of deployment, the work zone speed cameras still nabbed 341 motorists each day who didn’t give a second thought to exceeding the speed limit by a margin of 12 miles per hour or more within the parameters and peripheries of the long-term road work project. All told, 124,477 motorists were ticketed as a result of getting caught red-handed while driving too fast in the Suitland Road Bridge work zone near the signature home base of Air Force One. Collectively, speedy scofflaws caught within the operational range of the I-95/I-495 speed camera units faced $4,979,080 in photo radar fines for the errors of their ways.

 

Maryland’s work zone camera ticket revenues plummeted 44.5 percent in recent years. It is a sure sign motorists are getting the message about the consequences of speeding within work zones. In 2016, “six people lost their lives in work zone crashes in Maryland, including one highway worker,” reports the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT). Others suffered incapacitating injuries. Because the Maryland State Police cannot patrol all work zones, at all times, Maryland’s SafeZones mobile enforcement vehicles armed with speed cameras are rotating work zones along northbound and southbound I-95/I-495 (Capital Beltway) near the bridge over Suitland Road in Prince George’s County. Work zone speed camera tickets in Maryland carry a $40 fine. The photo citations do not involve points on a driver’s record nor incur insurance penalties.

 

“In Maryland, most work zone crashes across the state occur in the Washington, D.C. metro area, and the Baltimore metro area,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public & Government Affairs. “Currently, there are 15 active work zone speed camera locations in Maryland. SafeZones ASE units have captured photographic proof of 495,222 motorists speeding in work zones with ongoing activity and slowed down more than a few. Those speedy drivers incurred $19.9 million in work zone photo-radar ticket fines. The state of Maryland deploys ‘Automated Speed Enforcement’ (ASE) mobile units in work zones to modify driver behavior or save the lives and limbs of highway workers and motorists, including yours.”

 

Maryland SafeZones Speed Camera Citations on the Capital Beltway July 2017-July 2018

 

July-December 2017

January-July 2018

Total

NB-495 @ Suitland Rd Bridge, Prince George's County

50,152

27,949

78,101

SB I-495 @ Suitland Rd Bridge, Prince George's County

28,666

17,710

46,376

 

Typically, speed cameras flash “twice to measure how far, fast and furious vehicles travel between flashes.” In the first six months of deployment, from July 2017 to December 2017, the Capital Beltway work zone speed cameras flashed repeatedly, capturing photos of 78,818 motorists in the very act of speeding. In the first phase of the ticketing motorists in the northward flow of traffic on I-95/I-495 were issued 50,152 speed camera tickets, while 28,666 speed camera tickets were meted out in the work zone on southbound I-95/I-495.

 

No so fast. The tally of speed camera tickets, however, dropped significantly from January to July 2018 in the work zones at the top and bottom of the Capital Beltway. For example, the speed camera mobile unit emplaced along northbound Capital Beltway issued 27,949 speed camera tickets in the first seven months of 2018. This comprises a 44.2 percent decrease in speeding motorists in the work zone. In July 2018 the north-facing speed camera mobile unit captured 1,321 motorists zooming well above the posted speed limit by 12 mph or more. This represents its lowest output ever. Yet from July of 2017 through July 2018 the speed cameras issued 78,101 speed camera citations in the northward lanes of the Capital Beltway. The face value of those photo tickets totaled a whopping $3,124,040. It’s something transportation officials are loath to discuss.

 

The sum of speeders along the work zone on southbound I-495 declined by 38.2 percent from the previous six-month period. In July, the speed cameras aimed in that direction caught 810 speeders, the lowest output since July 2017, when the speed cameras captured 222 speeding motorists along the bridge construction project. All in all, the speed camera units posted in the southward direction issued a total of 46,376 speed camera citations from July to July. Cumulatively, the speed cameras here generated $1,855,040 in traffic fines.

 

Around 1,342,500 motorists on the receiving end of work zone speed camera tickets in Maryland forked over about $54 million in fine revenue to the state’s coffers from FY 2013 to FY 2016. Revenues dipped significantly from $16.4 million in FY 2013, to about $9.1 million in FY 2016, according to the Maryland General Assembly Department of Legislative Services. It represents a decline of $7.3 million in work zone camera revenue for the state’s coffers in the period from FY13 to FY16, notes AAA Mid-Atlantic.

 

Revenue Generated By Maryland Work Zone Speed Control Systems

Fiscal Year 2013

Fiscal Year 2014

Fiscal Year 2015

Fiscal Year 2016

Total Revenues

$16.4 million

$14.9 million

$13.3 million

$9.1 million

$53.7 million

 

Across Maryland, work zone camera “Revenues have generally decreased as compliance has increased,” explains the Department of Legislative Services. As proof, in fiscal 2015, Maryland collected about $13.3 million in revenue from citations generated by its work zone speed control systems, “compared to $14.9 million in fiscal 2014, and $16.4 million in fiscal 2013,” Legislative Services reports.  

 

Remarkably, the amount of speeding vehicles in work zones has dropped “90 percent” in Maryland.

More importantly, the number of work zone fatalities has also declined significantly in Maryland since the implementation of the work zone camera systems by the Maryland State Police and the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA). “Between 2010 and 2016, work zone fatalities averaged 6.6 per year in Maryland, a reduction of about 45% from the seven-year average of 11.9 fatalities per year from 2003 through 2009,” explains the Department of Legislative Services. “On average, more than 700 people nationwide lose their lives annually in work zone crashes,” cautions the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT). 

 

Between 198,811 and 212,250 drivers travel through the Capital Beltway work zone each day. You can bet there is little sympathy for the “crocodile tears” of the ticketed motorists. Especially from the 75.6 million motorists who obeyed the posted speed limit in the work zone on the Outer and Inner Loops during the past 12 months. After all, there is no excuse for putting highway construction workers or others in harm’s way or for ignoring work zone warning signs, speed reduction signage, dynamic speed display (DSD) signs or radar signs alerting drivers of their speed, and the other telltale signs, such as orange cones and traffic drums.

 

For heaven’s sake, who could miss the sport-utility vehicles with speed cameras mounted on the front bumper? Clue: when present, the “mobile ASE units,” sport-utility vehicles with the SafeZones logo, are usually parked behind a Jersey wall and in front of portable toilets. Those initials stand for “Automated Speed Enforcement” systems. The Capital Beltway dual bridge replacement project will take two more years. For safety’s sake, Maryland deployed the speed camera units in the Capital Beltway work zone last July.

 

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