Officials in both Maryland and Virginia are planning to introduce legislation allowing cameras in so-called highway work zones that would issue automated tickets worth $500 in Virginia and $2000 in Maryland. Lawmakers are following the lead of Illinois which last year introduced $1000 freeway speed camera tickets that have generated significant revenue. Oregon will begin its own work zone photo ticketing program next year, and states like Colorado are exploring an expansion of existing speed camera programs to include freeway work zones.
Currently, Maryland courts may impose a $1000 fine on anyone driving as little as 1 MPH over the limit anywhere that a "work zone" sign is posted and is accused of the crime by a police officer. Speed cameras are limited to zones of 35 MPH or less in Montgomery County. In August, these devices generated revenue at the rate of $3750 an hour -- equivalent to $10 million a year, from $75 citations. The Washington Post quotes Maryland Transportation Secretary John D Porcari as advocating legislation that would expand speed cameras statewide and double the work zone fine to $2000.
In Virginia, Governor Timothy M Kaine (D) will propose statewide freeway work zone camera legislation next year. Although the current work zone fine is $500, those accused of driving 20 MPH beyond the significantly lowered speed limit would face charges of up to $2500 plus a mandatory $1050 civil remedial fee. Kaine successfully fought this year for the return of red light cameras, despite a Virginia Department of Transportation report that found the devices caused a 29 percent increase in accidents, including a 18 percent jump in injury collisions, at photo enforced intersections . Intersection ticketing returns in several cities early next year.
Although officials promoting work zone speed cameras have suggested that the programs are intended to protect construction workers, evidence shows that only 15 percent of freeway construction zone injuries are caused by automobiles. A far greater number of workers are injured by their own construction equipment
Source: Perils Swell for Roadside Workers (Washington Post, 10/20/2007)