MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — A Maryland lawmaker’s proposal for the installation of cameras designed to catch drivers on their phones is raising privacy concerns.
Montgomery County Councilman Tom Hucker said he wants the county to be able to install automated cameras that could ticket distracted drivers.
Many drivers will tell you they see plenty of their fellow motorists using their phones behind the wheel.
“I’m a Lyft driver and I’m all over the city so yes, there’s a lot of distracted drivers,” said Haddie Frank.
That’s why Hucker is asking the state for permission to install the cameras.
“Unfortunately we have a whole epidemic of distracted driving,” Hucker said.
The cameras work just like those that catch drivers who run red lights: they’re mounted on poles or cars and capture footage through the driver’s window. Police then identify the drivers and tickets would be mailed out.
The state outlawed using cell phones while driving in 2013, but despite that, there were more than 38,000 distracted driving-related crashes in Maryland last year.
“All of us are in danger of being hit by a distracted driver, whether we’re walking on the roads or driving,” Hucker said.
Other council members aren’t so sure the plan would work.
“I think we need to focus on enforcement, education and looking at other options to reduce distracted driving, not taking photos of everyone’s cars,” councilman Will Jawando said.
The proposal also has some people worried about privacy.
“We’re certainly concerned that it appears that this could be a little more invasive and we’re certainly concerned about the privacy of motorists on our roadways,” said Ragina Ali from AAA Mid-Atlantic.