In January 2006, the Maryland General Assembly authorized the use of speed monitoring systems throughout Montgomery County as a pilot program. The state legislation authorized the use of photo-radar speed monitoring systems on residential streets and in school zones, where the posted speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less.
Violations could be issued if the vehicle speed exceeded the posted limit by more than 10 mph. The county was required to collect the fees for all citations that were issued by any Safe Speed Program operated in the county; the revenues from the citations were then remitted back to the municipalities that operated the program.
During the 2009 session of the Maryland General Assembly, the State Senate, at the request of Gov. Martin O'Malley, introduced Senate Bill 277 to authorize the statewide use of speed cameras in school zones and highway work zones. The General Assembly approved Senate Bill 277 in April 2009. The Governor signed Senate Bill 277 into law as Chapter 500 of the 2009 Laws of Maryland in May 2009. The law had an effective date of Oct. 1, 2009.
The table below provides an overview and summarizes the major differences between the 2006 and 2009 State speed camera laws.
Major Differences between the 2006 and 2009 State Speed Camera Laws
|2006 Law||2009 Law|
|Authority to use speed cameras||Montgomery County only||Statewide|
|Location of speed cameras||• School zones; and|
• Residential districts
|• School zones;|
• Residential districts; (Montgomery County only); and
• Highway work zones
|Hours of operation||No restrictions||School zone cameras restricted to 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday - Friday|
|Violation threshold||At least 10 mph over posted speed limit||At least 12 mph over posted speed limit|
|Local authorization||None required||For each new speed monitoring system:|
• Public hearing; and
• City ordinance or resolution
|Use of Revenues||• Limited to "related public safety purposes"; and|
• "May not supplant existing local expenditures for the same purpose"
|Limited to "public safety purposes"|
|Approvals||Authorized agents of the police department (civilians)||Duly authorized law enforcement officer (sworn)|
|Revenue Collection||Montgomery County had to collect all fines and fees||Each municipality can collect its fines and fees|
In Fiscal Year 2011, the City's speed camera program began deploying "portable camera units" (PCUs). PCUs contain all the technology and flash unit in one box that can be moved from location to location. They do not require an employee to stay with the unit, and they can be deployed to locations where fixed pole camera units cannot be constructed or where mobile camera units cannot be parked safely.
The ultimate goal of Rockville's traffic safety program is to save lives and prevent injuries. However, there are several other goals and benefits of the Safe Speed Program.
- Reduce speed in residential neighborhoods and school zones.
- Change driver behavior through voluntary compliance with traffic laws.
- Educate the public and increase public awareness.
- Reduce accident severity and the financial impact on the economy.
- Augment the efforts of traditional law enforcement.
- Reduce energy consumption.