House votes to increase fines for repeat speed offenders in highway work zones

The Maryland House of Delegates voted Thursday to increase penalties for third-time offenders caught by cameras exceeding the speed limit in highway work zones.

The unofficial 80-59 vote sends the measure to the Senate.

The current fine when a vehicle is photographed by a speed camera going 12 mph or more over the speed limit in a construction work zone is $40. The legislation would bump that up to $80 for third and subsequent offenses.

The bill passed after a debate in which several Republican delegates restated their opposition to any use of cameras to enforce traffic laws, saying they were intended to raise revenue rather than improve safety.

“I hate cameras,” said GOP Del. Haven Shoemaker of Carroll County. “Cameras are the biggest ripoff ever foisted on the Maryland motorist.”

Del. Pam Beidle, the bill’s floor manager, said that last year some 6,000 vehicles were caught by cameras speeding in work zones for at least the third time. The Anne Arundel County Democrat said the measure is intended to influence behavior and save lives. She pointed to statistics showing that the amount of revenue the state has earned since speed zone cameras were adopted in 2013 had dropped by half since then as evidence of the cameras’ effectiveness.

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