Montgomery County plans to double the number of traffic cameras in use

As early as next year, Montgomery County, Maryland, could have more speed and red-light cameras watching out for drivers behaving badly.

Assistant Chief Tom Didone told the Montgomery County Council’s Public Safety Committee on Thursday that the process of adding cameras takes around two years to complete. The police department is well into the process, with an expectation to officially request to buy them next year.

“We will be doubling the number of cameras,” Didone said.

The pandemic hasn’t slowed down drivers. In fact, the opposite is true — with some people getting caught going 80 mph or even 100 mph on area roadways.

“Those are fatalities waiting to happen,” said Richard Hetherington, who heads the department’s Automated Traffic Enforcement program.

Hetherington said the county has 325 approved “speed camera corridors” where cameras can go, but there are only 39 cameras that can be rotated into those spots. He said when cameras are moved into problem areas, drivers who pass them do slow down.

As the department goes through the process of selecting locations for the next batch of cameras, Hetherington said residents are offering their input.

“I’ve gotten well over 85 requests for cameras in places that we never imagined we would get requests for,” Hetherington said.

Among the locations requested is a cul-de-sac, where one driver has been seen speeding frequently. While locations such as that would most likely not get a camera, some of the other requests, including new development areas in Clarksburg, stand a better chance of seeing one put in place.

In the county, speed cameras can only go in approved locations that have been properly advertised, which includes making the public aware in newspapers, online and with signage along the road.

The only areas eligible for the cameras are locations zoned residential with a speed limit 35 mph or below or school zones.

According to Didone, the program supports itself.

Since 2015, the county has seen close to $100 million generated from the speed camera enforcement program. The last budget year, which ended in June, brought in close to $12 million, with more than 355,000 citations.

When it comes to red-light cameras, the county sent out almost 40,000 citations in 2019, according to the department.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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