Cameras will eye 4 intersections for red light runners

February 08, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

This summer Hagerstown police will have extra eyes on four city intersections looking for drivers running red lights.

Special cameras to detect motorists who run red lights will be mounted on tall poles near chosen intersections within the next four to six months, City Engineer Bruce Johnston told the Mayor and City Council on Tuesday.

The cameras photograph vehicles as they move through an intersection against a red light. Then police send a $75 ticket to the owner of the vehicle. The fine is similar to a parking ticket and would not count against anyone's driving record.

Police Chief Arthur R. Smith said the cameras will be "traffic calming" and should lead to a reduction in accidents. Smith said intersection traffic accidents are typically more serious than other accidents.


At this time the city is focusing on the following six intersections as potential sites for the cameras:

  • Potomac Street at Franklin Street.
  • Potomac Street at Washington Street.
  • Potomac Street at Wilson Boulevard.
  • Edgewood Drive at Dual Highway.
  • Franklin Street at Mulberry Street.
  • Washington Street at Burhans Boulevard.

The cameras are currently used in Howard County, Md.

Johnston said installation will cost approximately $7,500 per camera, for a total cost of $30,000. He said the revenue from fines probably would pay for the installation within a few months.

The mayor and council members on Tuesday told Johnston and Smith to go ahead with plans to install the cameras. Councilman J. Wallace McClure was on vacation and did not attend the meeting.

Councilman Alfred W. Boyer asked if the cameras could be moved around to different intersections.

Johnston said that might not be practical at this time because the installation, which includes erecting a pole to mount the camera and installing sensors in the pavement, are the major expenses.

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