Red-light cameras get green light in Westminster By Ryan Marshall, Times Staff Writer Monday, January 04, 2010 Ken Koons/Staff Photo
Workers install traffic cameras along Md. 140 and Malcolm Drive in Westminster. The camera and one at Md. 97 and Nursery Road are meant to cut down on traffic violations at those locations.
Winter weather is likely to determine when work is completed on the installation of red-light cameras at two Westminster intersections.
Workers have begun to install the cameras at the intersections of Md. 140 and Malcolm Drive and Md. 97 and Nursery Road, but Westminster Police Chief Jeff Spaulding said when the cameras will start working depends partly on when the weather allows crews to work.
The equipment has been installed at Md. 97 and Nursery Road, but the city is waiting for Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. to turn the power on so the equipment can be tested, Spaulding said. Some foundation work has been done at Md. 140 and Malcolm Drive, but the poles and equipment arenít up yet.
The two intersections were selected based on information on the numbers of crashes and citations issued in the vicinity, Westminster Mayor Kevin Utz said.
The cameras will provide consistent speed enforcement to intersections where adding signs and extra officers to monitor traffic havenít been effective, Spaulding said.
Itís expensive and time-consuming to assign an officer to monitor red-light violations, he said. And once an officer pulls over a driver who ran a light, others may run the light while the officer is writing the first driver a ticket.
Spaulding said suspected violations captured on the cameras will be reviewed by a supervisor at the police department to make sure each of 12 criteria have been met before a citation can be issued. The criteria include whether the tag number from the camera matches the Motor Vehicle Administration description of the vehicle, whether the time stamps on all photos match up and whether the tag number is clearly readable, he said.
Spaulding is the former supervisor of the traffic enforcement bureau in Howard County, where traffic cameras have been in use for 10 years. During that time, rear-end collisions have decreased on average nearly 17 percent, while right-angle collisions decreased 52 percent, he said.
Reach staff writer Ryan Marshall at 410-857-7865 or firstname.lastname@example.org.