Law enforcement, city officials in Hagerstown planning a potential red light camera program

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You might want to think twice about speeding up to beat that red light, or it could cost you.

Law enforcement and city officials in Hagerstown are in the planning stages of starting a red light camera program.

“It’s all about saving people’s lives,” said Paul Kifer, acting chief of the Hagerstown Police Department. “We’re not talking about intersection accidents where it’s rear-end fender benders. We’re talking about t-boning kind of intersection accidents, where serious injuries can occur.”

The technology used to fine drivers who run red lights is already at nine intersections in Frederick. Kifer said at those locations, they’ve seen a 59 percent drop in crashes.

“If it’s going to cut down on accidents, absolutely – sure, I’m all for it,” said Hagerstown resident Jeff Driscoll.

“A lot of Hagerstown is public commute – and walking, children and school in the area. So I am in support,” said fellow Hagerstown resident Arianna McIntyre.

The red light camera program is already in place at several other jurisdictions in Maryland. Generally, if you travel over the white line and continue through the intersection while the light is red, you would be fined.

“What if you’re right at the light and the light changes – you can’t get stopped, and go through it,” said Hancock resident Brian Ziler. “You’re going to get a ticket – that’s the bad thing.”

But Kifer said just giving out tickets because of slight human error isn’t the point.

“It’s not the kind of intersection red light running that we’re looking for,” he explained. “We’re looking for you actually passing through the intersection.”

The cameras would have live video feeds, potentially even predicting violations before they happen by measuring a vehicle’s speed. A system of checks and balances requires tickets to be vetted by the vendor company, and the police.

“An officer has to review that footage to make sure that it’s actually accurate to what the system says it’s doing,” Kifer added.

If you do get a ticket under the proposed plan, you would be fined $75.

Kifer said if the project continues to move forward in the Hagerstown City Council, he would hope to have the system up and running by next March. They’re looking at four intersections in particular – including two on Dual Highway, at its intersections with Eastern Boulevard and Edgewood Drive.

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