Traffic enforcement is up sharply and speeds have apparently been reduced on Indian Head Highway, Maryland Route 210 in Prince George’s County, Maryland — one of the D.C. area’s deadliest highways.
A combination of stepped-up police activity and speed cameras have produced nearly 21,000 violations issued to drivers so far in 2019, from Jan. 1 to Sept. 15, according to Prince George’s County Police Maj. Jeffrey Mitchell, commander of District VII-Fort Washington.
Mitchell delivered the word, Monday night, to the 210 Traffic Safety Committee, a community group formed two years ago to demand lifesaving improvements on the deadly roadway.
“We’ve had 66 fatalities since 2007,” said Rev. Robert Screen, an organizer of the 210 Traffic Safety Committee.
“Speeding is primarily the No. 1 issue here, along with distracted driving and DUIs,” Screen said.
But Mitchell told the group that since three roving speed cameras were deployed in June, the devices issued more than 3,000 violations to drivers.
“As far as the three cameras that we’ve located on 210, they’re in pretty decent locations … they’ve issued out a total of 3,034 violations, which is actually pretty good between the three cameras,” Mitchell said.
The two southbound cameras were responsible for snaring most of the speeders, issuing 2,155 of the speeding violations.
Screen said he is grateful for the results from the cameras.
“We have been able to implement some safety measures that have been going toward making improvements … they have been … a good catalyst for slowing people down at those areas,” Screen said.
The group was told that citation history from other speed cameras installed in work zones on the highway late in 2017 show a clear indication that the cameras are slowing people down.
During the first six months of the year from January to June — southbound speed cameras in the work zones issued 2,818 violations — a sharp decrease from the 5,814 violations issued from the cameras during the first six months of 2018, according to data from the Maryland State Highway Administration.
“This is the measure and the yardstick and the caliber of the effectiveness of speed cameras,” said John Townsend, public and government relations manager at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Where there are speed cameras, if speed cameras really work you’ll see a precipitous drop in the number of infractions or tickets.
“People will begin to slow down where they know speed cameras are present.”
But it’s not just cameras slowing drivers down on the long, straight highway bisected by numerous cross streets. More drivers have been seeing the flashing blue lights of Prince George’s County police in their rearview mirrors since the start of the year.
“On 210, we had 17,924 citations, so that’s out of a little over 8,000 traffic stops, 8,143,” said Mitchell, outlining the data from Jan. 1 to Sept. 15.