Baltimore to begin fining drivers $90 for blocking traffic at intersections

Baltimore transportation officials said Wednesday they will soon begin issuing $90 fines to motorists who block intersections, causing traffic backups and creating safety issues.

Baltimore Transportation Director Michelle Pourciau said the agency is launching a “Don’t Block the Box” campaign to enforce existing state law.

Starting May 1, the city Department of Transportation will issue warnings to motorists who block intersections during red lights.

On June 1, the agency will begin issuing $90 fines that come with a point on a motorist’s driving license.

Such problems typically occur when motorists enter an intersection without first making sure they will be able to move all the way through it before the light turns red during periods of high traffic.

The agency will be adding signs at key intersections to alert drivers to the new enforcement.

“Blocking an intersection causes traffic congestion and delays by preventing other vehicles from passing through,” Pourciau said.

She added that she planned to meet with the Maryland Transit Administration about complaints that their buses often block intersections.

The announcement of the new enforcement plan came as Pourciau and Mayor Catherine E. Pugh released a new traffic safety campaign.

Other aspects of the plan include greatly expanding the city’s speed and red light camera system and launching a public information campaign called “Don’t Be That Person.”

The campaign will include safety messages posted throughout Baltimore and will address issues such as pedestrian and bicycle safety, speeding, red light running, seat belt usage and distracted driving.

Baltimore officials are expecting to collect $24 million next year from the city’s expanding network of red-light and speed cameras — triple the amount budgeted for this year.

The city is planning to expand the existing network of 56 cameras to 100 to improve safety on streets near schools and to deliver new revenues.

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