Baltimore needs more than speed cameras to promote safe driving
Dec 06, 2018 at 2:40 PM
Baltimore officials on Wednesday plan to award contracts worth nearly $10 million for two companies to bring back the city's once-troubled speed and red light camera system. (Ulysses Muñoz / Baltimore Sun)
Luke Broadwater’s recent article, “Crashes continue to get worse in Baltimore” (Dec. 2), grabbed my attention. He informed readers that red light and speed cameras were deactivated in 2014, and 214 crashes resulting in serious injury or death were reported for that year. Even though the camera program was reactivated in 2017, 574 serious crashes were reported for that year.
One would think that having active red light cameras would result in fewer accidents. Yet, my experiences cause me to believe that many drivers are running red lights each day. I believe that an additional factor in higher rates of vehicle accidents is the increasing use of overly tinted windows. I think this may especially be the case for vehicles with the windshield and front driver’s side window darkened. This is illegal in Maryland if the windows do not allow at least 35 percent light transmission.
I found it difficult to find statistics from a search online, but there are instances of complaints from drivers and bike riders who have not been able to view a driver in a car with heavily tinted windows. This is because not being able to see a driver prevents getting a defensive driving “read” on whether they are paying attention to other vehicles. Personally, I have had numerous experiences at intersections where I am unable to see where a driver is looking or what their actions are. Are they planning on making a turn, going straight or giving me a nod to have the right of way? Should I move ahead or wait?
One tinting company wisely provides reasons for not heavily tinting your car’s windows. These include that it might not be legal, that it could interfere with your vision on cloudy days or at night, that it might increase your insurance rates and that it could interfere with police and rescue activities. It’s possible that some car owners who have chosen to have heavily tinted front windows are not even aware of the risks or illegal status.
So much more needs to be done to increase safe driving. This should include education on tinted windows and enforcement of the current laws regarding them.