State Highway Administration: Accidents in Work Zones Hit Decade Low

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Turns out lead-footed drivers are slowing down for speed cameras. The State Highway Administration says accidents in work zones are the lowest they’ve been in a decade.

Jessica Kartalija reports.

Maryland highways have proven fatal far too often.

“You just have people who don’t want to abide even though there’s construction going on,” said Geena Smith, a Howard County resident.

In response, the state launched the Maryland Safe Zones Program in 2010. When cameras went up, accidents went down.

“The safe zone has brought people down to 55 miles per hour and the importance of that is it is improving the safety of drivers, passengers and the traveling public,” said Margaret Martin of the State Highway Administration.

Safe zones give workers more room to work, provide additional safety signs and warn drivers they will be ticketed if they are caught speeding.

“Only two percent of the traveling public are getting tickets in these areas. That means 98 percent of the traveling public is traveling at an acceptable speed,” said Martin.

It also means drivers have more control behind the wheel.

“If they see they are 12 miles over the speed limit, they are slowing down and if they are slowing down it creates a safe environment for everyone, ” said Sgt. Marc Black of the Maryland State Police.

When the program was first introduced, seven out of every 100 drivers exceeded the speed limit. Now, fewer than two drivers out of 100 are cited for speeding.

“When it’s a slower speed, you are able to maneuver and make those adjustments in those environments and it’s working. It’s a super success story,” said Martin.

Since the safe zone project started, $21 million has been collected in fines. That money has gone directly to Maryland State Police.

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