Running traffic lights can put drivers in the red, thanks to new program County receives grant for extra patrols to watch prime intersections

August 11, 1996|By Erica C. Harrington | Erica C. Harrington,SUN STAFF

If you press the gas pedal harder to beat a red light, you may be pressing your luck as well with the start of a Howard County police program to stop red-light runners.

The Police Department received a $40,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to pay overtime for officers assigned to stop drivers who run red lights and for public service announcements on radio and television, said Sgt. Steven Keller.

The program, which began Aug. 1, will target intersections along U.S. 1, U.S. 40 and Route 175 with more officers in marked and unmarked cars and surveillance from a helicopter. Drivers caught running red lights may receive a $115 ticket and one point on their driving records.

According to State Highway Administration figures, running red lights causes 3,700 accidents and 20 deaths a year in Maryland. Keller said reducing these accidents will save taxpayers money in emergency services, court prosecutions and covering people who do not have car insurance.

"Most red lights only last two or three minutes -- that's all you save," Keller said.

Pub Date: 8/11/96

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