Assembly OK may let Howard add cameras at busy intersections

April 09, 1997|By Jill Hudson | Jill Hudson,SUN STAFF

A bill approved this week by the Maryland General Assembly could mean that Howard County officials soon will be putting more cameras at busy intersections and mailing tickets to those caught on film running red lights.

Beginning in October, the owners of cars photographed going through red lights may be fined as much as $100. The bill is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

Howard County is the first jurisdiction in the state to test the high-tech cameras on its roads and motorists -- though it has been sending out only warning notices, not tickets.

Two cameras have been in operation in Columbia since May at Broken Land Parkway and Stevens Forest Road and at Little Patuxent Parkway and Columbia Road.

The results have been startling, county traffic officials said. As many as 90 drivers a day run red lights at the Broken Land Parkway intersection, officials say, some going through 30 seconds after the light has changed -- at speeds of up to 60 mph.

For now, owners of cars caught by the cameras get a warning letter. The bill passed by the state legislature would let police mail a citation that would be a civil violation, similar to a parking ticket.

Though the Maryland legislation would allow any jurisdiction to set up such cameras, officials in the other jurisdictions in the Baltimore area yesterday did not report plans to do so. "We'd eventually love to be able to use the cameras, but we're not set up for it now," said Lt. J. D. Smith of the Baltimore Police Department.

Pub Date: 4/09/97

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