WASHINGTON — Two new speed cameras on the Capital Beltway in Maryland began issuing $40 tickets on Monday in an effort to improve safety in work zones.
The cameras were installed along Interstate 495 near the bridge work over Suitland Road in Prince George’s County. Tickets will be issued to drivers caught traveling 67 mph or faster. The speed limit along that stretch of highway is 55 mph.
Over the next two years, two bridges over Suitland Road are set to be replaced.
Speeding and distracted driving are typically responsible for fatal crashes in highway construction zones, according to Doug Hecox with the Federal Highway Administration.
“It’s usually somebody simply creeping up on another driver faster than they should and causing a tail-end collision,” Hecox said.
Four out of five people killed in highway construction zone crashes are either drivers or passengers in vehicles.
“It’s the kind of thing that could cost you your life. So, we’re asking all drivers to be safe — obey all posted speed limits and really keep an eye out for all the (work zone) orange.”
The Maryland SafeZones Automated Speed Enforcement system is in place in areas throughout the state.
The program also includes oversized signage warning drivers that speed cameras are ahead along with a sign that displays how fast passing cars are moving.
Speeding violations have dropped by more than 90 percent in work zone locations with the speed cameras, according to the Maryland State Highway Administration.
The latest data available from 2015 shows that fatal highway work zone crashes are rising nationwide, up 42 percent since 2013.
In 2015, five people were killed in work zone crashes in Maryland. Another seven were killed in Virginia and one person died that year in D.C., according to a national clearinghouse of work zone safety data.
“When driving through work zones, please stay alert — look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers. Slow down and don’t follow too closely. Work zone safety is in your hands,” the highway administration said in a news release.