Baltimore will actually start ticketing drivers who 'block the box' next month

Police and traffic enforcement officers are beginning to give warnings to drivers who block intersections in downtown Baltimore this week — and will begin issuing $125 fines for “blocking the box” beginning Oct. 15, the Department of Transportation said.

The “Don’t Block the Box” fine is a result of legislation sponsored by City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young in June, after he delayed a push by the city transportation department in April to begin enforcing state law that calls for a $90 fine, plus a point on the driver’s license, for those who block the intersection.

Young had raised concerns the city’s traffic lights were not synchronized correctly and were partly to blame. His legislation, which he said replaced an unenforced $250 city fine, made the offense within city limits a $125 fine, without putting points on a driver’s license.

The push to enforce the violation was part of Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and Transportation Director Michelle Pourciau’s traffic safety plan.

“Do Not Block Intersection” signs have been posted at intersections in the downtown area as a reminder, the Department of Transportation said Tuesday.

“Vehicles that enter an intersection when it’s not possible to cross all the way through create traffic bottlenecks and hazardous situations for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians,” Pourciau said in a statement. “We are optimistic that this campaign will change driver behavior and result in safer and more efficient travel for everyone in the city.”

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