Reporting Alex DeMetrick
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The state says they’re needed for safety. Turns out those work zone cameras are also good at making money—and a lot of it.
Alex DeMetrick has the numbers and a proposal that could limit those automated tickets.
It’s a question of timing and whether it’s fair to keep those cameras clicking around the clock.
Some speed cameras move from work zone to work zone. Go 12 miles over the posted limit and you get a ticket.
“On the Beltway, 695. Hate ‘em. Absolutely hate ‘em,” said Vicky Richards.
According to AAA, last year, almost half a million drivers were nabbed by the cameras, generating $19 million in fines. Altogether, nearly one million tickets have gone out since the program began in 2009.
State Highways says it’s about worker safety, not money. But the cameras are still operating after the workers have gone home.
“They shouldn’t be on at night when no one’s working in the area. It doesn’t make sense,” said Steve Weidle.
According to an earlier study, 63 percent of the work zone tickets were issued when no one was working.
“I’m not crazy about speed cameras on highways, but I do understand in a construction zone where there’s active construction,” said Senator Jim Brochin.
Brochin will introduce legislation about turning the cameras off if no one’s working.
“So it’s tweaking and it just says when workers are present or at least one worker is present,” Brochin said.
But AAA says even idle work zones pose a risk with new traffic patterns and lane shifting. And not all drivers are opposed to the cameras.
“Encourages people to obey the laws and keep themselves and other people safe. I like that,” said Fred Weinstein.
AAA says slowing down in work zones at all times is backed by studies showing four out of every five injuries in a work area is to those inside the car.
Brochin plans to introduce his bill limiting work zone cameras to working hours Tuesday in Annapolis.