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Public whining over speed cameras appears to have, at least momentarily, softened hearts at the Maryland State Highway Administration. The SHA has decided that motorists shouldn't have to pay a $40 fine for driving too fast in construction zones for another two weeks.

While that's great for scofflaws, it would seem to thwart the original purpose of the measure: to make work zones safer for both construction crews and motorists. The law has only been in effect since Oct. 1, but 900 warnings have already been sent to violators.

Under the law, motorists only face a fine if they drive at least 12 mph over the speed limit, surely a generous standard.

Last year, 11 people died in work zone crashes in Maryland. Nationwide, there were 720 fatalities. Speeding and driver inattention are considered to be leading factors involved in these accidents.

SHA officials say the delay was necessary chiefly because the first violations weren't mailed out until Oct. 14, so extending the warning period to a full month would seem to be in the spirit of the original 30-day reprieve. On the other hand, that the contractor has employed only two specially equipped SUVs for the job and has recorded so many violations in so short a period of time suggests the need for enforcement is substantial.

Nothing gets a driver's attention quite like a speeding ticket. One can only hope that a warning has as positive an effect.

-Peter Jensen

Readers respond

Public whining? It is recognizing what speed cameras are - another LIBERAL ANNAPOLIS TAX!


I've been a speeder all my driving years. Got plenty of tickets to prove it. I'm in favor of speed cameras. When I know there is a camera in a certain place, I don't speed. They do what they are supposed to do - keep people from speeding.


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