Maryland 210 has maintained the dishonorable title of the D.C. area’s deadliest road for years. Now safety advocates worry that aggressive speeders and the potential loss of speed cameras will make matters worse on the 13-mile stretch of highway.
Rev. Robert Screen, who works with a citizen’s group trying to make that road safer, spoke on the issue at Monday’s Md. 210 Traffic Safety Committee meeting.
“Now when I look at the reports that I have, it seems like month after month, there is at least speeds going up to about 140 miles an hour caught on somebody’s cam — on one of the three cameras,” Screen said.
In May, speed cameras clocked a driver going 168 mph on Md. 210.
Speed is not the only constant. Pedestrian deaths on the road have been a regular occurrence, including a hit and run in Oxon Hill last month and another last week when a construction worker was struck and killed.
Peter Campanides with the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration said the victim, 56-year-old Huerta Melendez, had just finished laying down cones for work on an overhead sign just north of the interchange.
Campanides added it was “aggressive driving” that lead to Huerta’s death.
“We’re dealing with a different kind of driver on 210,” he said.
The group Screen represented is worried that the stretch of highway could get worse soon. He told the committee that the program that maintains three speed cameras on the highway will sunset in 2023.
“If we don’t have the updated, current information to justify the cameras, all three of those can be gone,” said Screen.
He said the group would advocate to keep the cameras in place, and hopefully add more fine generating cameras. They also think the fines should become more expensive.
“When people are getting caught by the cameras, at this point in time, they’re only paying $40,” said Screen. “I don’t care if you’re going 168 … they are only paying $40. So the deterrent factor is not there.”
After Election Day, Screen said the group hopes to work with the next Maryland Governor.
“With this new governor that comes in, on the first day, we’re gonna have to put something on his desk,” he said.