Howard County Police Chief William McMahon submitted the following letter to the editor on Oct. 14. It revolves around the speed camera program, which will be implemented in school zones throughout Howard County as of Oct. 17, 2011.
Parents and community members have been telling police for years that speeding near schools is a problem. The Howard County Police Department has shared those concerns.
That’s why we are launching a new speed camera program in school zones in Howard County. We simply want people to slow down.
School zones are one of the places where kids are most susceptible to vehicle-related injuries. Even if a collision is unavoidable, a car traveling slowly is likely to create less damage or injury than one that is speeding.
We did not rush to the decision to implement the use of speed cameras. We conducted a year-long speed study in school zones that showed 66 percent of drivers traveled above the speed limit.
Research shows that automated speed enforcement is one way to slow drivers down. Earlier this year, the Howard County County Council passed a bill authorizing the use of speed cameras in Howard County.
Beginning this week, you will start to see them near county schools. We want them to have an impact and change driver behavior. Our speed cameras will be mobile and will be moved among school zones throughout the county.
A list of roads scheduled for speed enforcement will be posted in advance online. All school zones will be marked as speed camera areas.
A speed camera citation carries a $40 fine and no points. All fines collected go back into the speed camera program. Any remaining funds over the cost of the program will be used only for public safety projects.
Give kids a brake. Slow down. Help us make traffic safety in school zones a top priority.
William J. McMahon
Chief of Police, Howard County Police Department