The amended bill gives Prince George’s authority to install one camera at the intersection with Old Fort Road, where a man was recently stopped driving 116 mph with a small child and infant in the car.
Residents and community leaders had pleaded with the state for permission to install multiple speed cameras along the corridor in Prince George’s County.
Legislators agreed to only one camera, averting criticism that this was an attempt to further expand the state’s lucrative speed camera program. Maryland law establishes that speed cameras can be used only in school zones and state highway work zones, with the exception of Montgomery County where cameras are also allowed in residential areas.
“Lawmakers really narrowed the scope of the bill and whittled it down to only one speed camera on that stretch of road,” said John Townsend, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic who tracked the legislation. “The only saving grace is unlike the speed cameras on school zones, this camera will be operative around the clock.”
Under state law, school zone cameras operate from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
If Hogan signs the bill, Indian Head Highway could get its new speed camera as soon this fall. It was unclear Monday if the governor plans to sign the bill.
Drivers must be going at least 12 miles per hour over the posted speed limit before they are cited by the cameras, and the $40 ticket can be sent only after the infractions have been reviewed by a sworn police officer.
Residents and community leaders had urged lawmakers to ease the state guidelines and allow automated enforcement on Indian Head Highway, citing public safety concerns and troubling statistics on fatal crashes in the corridor. From 2007 to 2017, there were 46 crashes resulting in 58 fatalities on highway, according to state records. In recent months, police stepped up enforcement, issuing thousands of tickets to speeders in the corridor.
The busy commuter route carries 75,000 vehicles daily. The road, which stretches nearly 13 miles in Prince George’s, begins as a four-lane highway near the Charles County line and expands to six lanes as it approaches the Capital Beltway. Drivers can go 55 mph until they approach the intersection of Kerby Hill and Livingston roads where the speed drops to 45 mph.
Residents and community leaders in the corridor welcomed Monday’s news.
“It’s not exactly what we wanted,” said Ron Weiss, a Fort Washington community activist. “But it is a ground-breaking first step.”