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NEWS RELEASE



MARYLAND WORK ZONE FATALITIES AT LOWEST LEVEL IN MORE THAN A DECADE

SafeZones Automated Speed Enforcement Results in Fewer Aggressive Drivers/Speeders in Work Zones

(August 29, 2012)  – The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) announced today that work zone-related crashes, fatalities and injuries are at a more than 10-year low according to its finalized 2011 crash data.  Based on the last three years, fatalities in work-zone crashes decreased by more than half from nine in 2009 to three in 2011. In the same timeframe, the number of people injured decreased from 827 to 688 and overall work zone crashes decreased from 1,685 to 1,486.

SHA credited, in part, the Maryland SafeZones automated speed enforcement program.  Since the program’s official launch in 2010, speeding violations in SafeZones construction sites have decreased by more than 80 percent. When the program was first introduced, approximately seven out of every 100 drivers in a work zone were exceeding the speed limit by 12 mph or more; currently less than two drivers out of every 100 are receiving citations for excessive speeding.

“The decrease in work zone crashes and the reduction in citations tell us that the SafeZones cameras are effective and motorists are getting the message to slow down in our highway work zones,” said State Highway Administrator Melinda B. Peters. “This is not only good news for workers but for motorists as well since the majority of those injured in work zone related crashes are drivers or occupants in passenger vehicles.  SafeZones is a critical part of our overall work zone safety program, because education of the driving public combined with effective enforcement is a powerful traffic safety tool.”

The overall drop in violation rate indicates that approximately 98 percent of drivers are heeding the guidance of the large highway signs posted prior to automated speed enforced work zones notifying drivers the cameras are present and urging them to drive more safely. 

"More drivers are recognizing the importance of being alert and slowing down in work zones, which is leading to enhanced safety in our work zones,” said Office of Traffic and Safety Director Cedric Ward.

The SafeZones program formally launched in July 2010 after being authorized by the 2009 speed camera law and following an eight-month pilot program.  Managed by SHA, in partnership with Maryland State Police and Maryland Transportation Authority Police, the SafeZones program issues citations to drivers exceeding the posted speed limit by 12 mph or more in monitored work zones.  A uniformed law enforcement officer reviews the details of each citation before it is mailed to the owner of the vehicle. 

“Work zones present challenging conditions for even the most seasoned drivers,” Maryland State Police Sergeant Marc Black said.  “The SafeZones enforcement program continues to be an effective way for us to increase safety for highway workers and law enforcement personnel in work zones, as well as the thousands of motorists who travel through these zones each day.” 

“Enforcing the proper speed in work zones can be very difficult when lanes are narrowed and shoulders are unavailable,” said Maryland Transportation Authority Police Sergeant Kirk Perez.  “The SafeZones cameras provide a deterrent to speeding and help avoid the apprehension of speed violators by police in the confined space within the work zone.  The SafeZones cameras are a valuable tool for law enforcement in our drive to keep highways safe.

SafeZones program deployment recently concluded in three work zones as the projects near completion: I-695 at Charles Street, I-695 at Liberty Road and I-95 at the Millard E. Tydings Bridges.  There are currently nine deployments across the State.  Cameras will be introduced at three additional sites this fall when construction work begins at the locations outlined below. 

Current deployments:

Baltimore County     I-95 between I-695 to MD 43
Baltimore County     I-695 at Wilkens Avenue
Baltimore County     I-695 at Frederick Road
Baltimore County     I-795 at I-695
Frederick County     I-70 Phase 2D
Frederick County      I-270, MD 80 and Bennett Creek
Montgomery County I-495, Northwest Branch Overlay
Prince George’s County I-95 at Contee Road Interchange
Howard County       US 29 (Deck Overlays) at US 40

Fall deployments:

Frederick County  Motter Avenue over US 15
Washington County  I-70 over Conococheague Creek
Washington County  I-70 over MD 63

Details about the specific deployment sites, including the number of citations issued, are located on www.safezones.maryland.gov.  In total, between fiscal years 2010 and 2012 (through June 30, 2012), 998,003 citations were issued, and $21 million has been collected in net fines. The funding is transferred to the Maryland State Police.

The summer construction season will continue through fall as weather conditions allow.  While SHA and its transportation partners work hard to maintain safe traffic mobility in work zones, each driver needs to modify his or her driving to help prevent crashes. Stay alert and look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers.  Slow down and don’t follow too closely.  Safer driving. Safer work zones. For everyone!
 
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