Maryland state officials insist that speed cameras are necessary in construction areas, even when no workers are present.
Speed cameras installed in road construction zones throughout Maryland are coming under scrutiny by motorists and state legislators alike.
Engineers with the Maryland State Highway Administration say the work zone speed cameras have issued more than 1 million tickets in the first two years of operation, generating $30 million over that period. Certainly, few would appreciate the $40 fine, but the rub for many motorists is the fact that the cameras are set to slap you with a ticket even when there’s no workers on site.
"We’ve had numerous complaints about people who’ve gotten tickets on holidays and on weekends when there’s no sign of work in those work zones," says John Townson with Triple-A Atlantic. "This is something that has to be balanced toward safety and keep in mind that motorists have rights too."
Lora Rikowsky spokesperson for the Maryland State Highway Administration says busy sites pose a hazard even when worker aren’t there.
"Were talking about things such as Jersey barriers, shortened merge areas, the presence of equipment, large cranes, all of these also jeopardize the safety of motorists who are passing by the site," says Rikowsky.
The state senate is expected to consider a bill this week which would disable the cameras when workers are off-site. A similar bill failed in the General Assembly last year.