The Maryland SafeZones program, now in its third year, seeks to slow down drivers in road construction work zones, which make the work zones safer for workers, drivers and passengers. The program uses laser technology and cameras mounted on mobile vehicles. Since inception, the program has issued 954,000 tickets, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.
The program has been credited with reducing the speed of motorists in construction zones and a reduction in Baltimore auto accidents. Yet drivers are still driving too fast through work zones as evidenced by the 474,000 citations issued in 2011, according to the AAA. The citations resulted in $19 million in speeding tickets.
In Baltimore County alone, along I-95 between I-695 and I-895, almost 236,000 tickets were issued last year.
In the past 10 years, approximately 12 people have been killed and 1,484 people were injured each year in work zone-related accidents according to Maryland SafeZones. Four out of five people killed or injured in these accidents is a driver or passenger of a vehicle.
Some major causes of accidents include inattentive driving, failure to yield the right-of-way and following too close. These are in addition to speed, which the SafeZones program is trying to combat.
The following are several ways to safely drive through work zones:
- Stay alert and pay extra attention. Adjusting a radio station or talking on the phone can be unsafe distractions.
- Look for alternate routes to avoid work zones.
- When orange cones are spotted, expect lane shifts, construction activity, uneven or unmarked lanes, and slowed or stopped traffic.
- Avoid tail gating another car and allow other drivers to merge.
In addition to slowing down in a work zone, drivers will reduce the potential for a ticket, as well as a car accident.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Nearly $19 million in speed camera tickets issued in work zones, Steve Kilar, Feb. 17, 2012