MACo Supports Proposed House Speed Camera Reforms

MACo, the Maryland Municipal League,  the State Highway Administration (SHA), AAA, and other affected stakeholders are participating in speed camera work sessions held the House Motor Vehicles and Transportation Subcommittee.  The Subcommittee is working with legislation (HB 929) that would make some reasonable and modest reforms to Maryland’s speed camera program.

As introduced, HB 929 would:  (1) clarify that a local jurisdiction must provide warnings for at least 30 days after the first speed monitoring system is in use; (2) require a local jurisdiction, before activating a stationary speed camera in a school zone, to ensure that each school zone sign is proximate to a sign that indicates speed cameras are in use in the zone and that the school zone sign is in accordance with the manual and specifications for a uniform system of traffic control devices adopted by SHA; and (3) clarifies that each speed camera image used to issue a citation must be reviewed and affirmed by a duly authorized law enforcement officer.

The Subcommittee may also create a process where citizen complaints or questions can be reviewed and answered (the contesting of citations would remain the purview of the court).  MACo supports the basic provisions of HB 929 and supports the concept of an “ombudsman” program for citizens with questions or systemic concerns about a speed camera program.  The “ombudsman” who would be a county employee or law enforcement officer not directly related to the program, would respond to citizen complaints and questions in writing.  The responses would be available to both the public and the media.  While the concept needs to be further refined, MACo believes that it would provide an important process to help maintain citizen confidence in local speed camera programs.

The hearing for HB 929 is set for Tuesday, March 5 in the House Environmental Matters Committee.

February 5 MACo speed Camera Presentation before the Motor Vehicle and Transportation Subcommittee