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Even with speed cameras off, no pedestrians injured in school zones

City officials say Baltimore's speed camera system was designed to protect children walking in school zones. And indeed, no pedestrians were injured in school-zone crashes the last year the cameras operated.

But there also were no pedestrian injuries in school zones the year the extensive camera system was shut down.

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According to Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration data, no pedestrians were injured by vehicles in city school zones in 2012 or 2013. In 2012, Baltimore had 83 speed cameras monitoring motorists and generating millions of dollars in revenue. In 2013, Baltimore's speed cameras were turned off for all but about three weeks. They have not been turned on since.

Citywide, 261 pedestrians under age 18 were injured by vehicles, with one killed, when the cameras were running in 2012. In 2013, with the cameras off, 221 young pedestrians were injured and none killed.

Adrienne Barnes, a spokeswoman for Baltimore's Department of Transportation, called the statistics a "positive development" that shows the agency is improving safety.

"Speed cameras are just one of many tools used to keep pedestrians safe and traffic calm," she said. "The data reflected here shows that Baltimore City has been successful in using a full range of resources to improve pedestrian safety and has been able to continue fulfilling that mission even while the cameras are down."

City crash data from the two years shows mixed results. The number of crashes in Baltimore increased from 20,740 in 2012 to 21,005 in 2013. But the number of crashes resulting in injury fell from 4,814 to 4,599. The number of fatal crashes was unchanged, at 27 each year.

Statistics for 2014 will not be available until next year.

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