ANNAPOLIS — Maryland drivers who are caught on camera speeding in a work zone may soon have to pay a far steeper fine, under a set of recommendations for lawmakers that Gov. Wes Moore, traffic officials and others outlined Friday.
At $40, Maryland’s fines are tied for the lowest of any state that permits automated speed enforcement.
A set of recommendations from the governor’s work group of police officers, labor leaders, traffic engineers, highway safety experts and roadside workers didn’t propose a new fine amount, though the group had previously discussed bumping it to $250, closer what drivers face for speeding in a work zone if a police officer pulls them over.
The governor also said that, effective immediately, the state will increase the number of state troopers present in work zones and work with local law enforcement agencies to move additional officers to those areas.
The work group recommended that lawmakers support funding for the Maryland State Police to ensure troopers are available to be at work zones.
Traffic officials have said that, over the past five years and particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland has seen a spike in roadway deaths, including in work zones.
There have been more than 1,100 work zones crashes in the state so far this year, an average of three per day, said Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller, who worked as a transportation engineer for 25 years and chaired the governor’s work group.
Increasing fines, allowing the use of unmanned cameras to boosting the number of automated speed traps in work zones, lowering speed limits in construction zones and posting billboards about increased work zone penalties are among the set of recommendations that the Moore administration hopes will help spark a shift in driver culture and save the lives of drivers and roadside workers.
The governor, speaking at a press conference inside the State House, also called on drivers to change their behavior when passing through work zones.
“Drive as if it’s a member of your family who’s working in these work zones,” Moore said.
The recommendations included calls for State Highway Administration to increase its use of safety alerts on navigation apps to improve drivers’ awareness about work zones and for the Motor Vehicle Administration to expand driver training focused on districted driving in work zones.
The work group also called for the State Department of Education to have a safety mascot promoting student involvement and for the state to educate drivers about flashing green lights on traffic trucks, which alert drivers to work zones.
State lawmakers will consider the governor’s recommendations during the legislative session that begins in January.
State officials announced the formation of the work group in April, weeks after six construction workers died after an out-of-control sedan traveling north on Interstate 695 entered an active construction zone through an opening in a temporary concrete barrier.
A 54-year-old driver lost control after striking another car when she was trying to change lanes, according to the Maryland State Police.
Describing the life-threatening conditions that construction workers and police officers face while working on roadsides, Miller on Thursday also mentioned an incident Wednesday in which, according to a report Friday from NBC4 Washington, a 19-year-old with a history of reckless driving intentionally struck Montgomery County Police Sgt. Patrick Kepp, 36, who was part of a team trying to stop the man’s reckless driving that morning.
Kepp had both of his legs amputated. The driver, Raphael Mayorga, has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, the station reported.
This story has been updated.