Although there are many causes for car accidents, fatal or otherwise, one thing is for certain: speed is a contributing factor to the severity of any car crash or truck wreck. As Maryland automobile accident attorneys, Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers are well versed in the area of wrongful death and personal injury suits. Our job would be a great deal less heartbreaking if accidents occurred at lower speeds. We can only hope that the new speed cameras being placed around the city will help to reduce the number of serious accidents.
According to news reports, the city’s first speed enforcement cameras are now in operation. Designed to take photos of vehicles going through one of Northeast Baltimore’s busy intersections near City College, the cameras have been in operation since October 1. In the first week of operation, according to police, 50 warnings were mailed out to drivers who exceeding the 30mph limit by 12mph or more.
Police reviewed an additional 323 photos and videos that could also turn into violations. Police report that fastest car through that intersection was traveling southbound at 70mph on October 6 along the Alameda at 33rd Street.
Based on reports, during the first week the average violation speed for drivers going south on the Alameda was about 60mph. The average speeds heading in the opposite direction on East 33rd Street was lower, at just under 50mph.
Because speed cameras can’t discern who is driving a vehicle, the citations issued are similar to parking tickets and don’t carry points or insurance penalties. For the first month, police issued only warnings, however November 2 was the date that actual traffic tickets began to be issued.
Fines for speeding are $40 fines. From an economic standpoint, that’s a good deal for a driver going 70; the same driver pulled over by a flesh-and-blood police officer would receive a $160 ticket and three points assessed to his license. According to news articles, the city planned to have more than 50 speed cameras in place, most of them near school zones.
Baltimore County officials are putting up 15 speed cameras in school zones; other jurisdictions are considering doing the same.
Critics have long held that traffic enforcement cameras are just one more way for local governments to generate revenue; local officials insist the only goal is reducing speeding and the running of red lights.
Some good must be coming out of it. A recent study in Montgomery County, where speed cameras have been in use for two years, found that speeds in camera zones decreased, as did the number of tickets sent out. The study also found that accidents resulting in injuries and fatalities went down nearly 40 percent.
City’s speed cameras going into action, BaltimoreSun.com, October 15, 2009