MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Montgomery County leaders are looking to reduce unnecessary or biased traffic stops when it comes to some minor violations, and may use automated enforcement to do it.
Data from a 2020 report from the county’s Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) noted “wide disparities” in arrests and traffic stops in the county.
The county council’s Transportation & Environment and Public Safety Committees held a joint meeting to discuss adding more speed and red light cameras in an effort to limit interactions with police for more minor traffic infractions and get people to slow down in general.
Currently, Montgomery County Police oversees the speed camera program and traditional traffic enforcement, but that responsibility could soon be turned over to the county’s Department of Transportation. Under Maryland law, Montgomery County can’t let MCDOT take over in-person enforcement responsibilities such as traffic stops.
“The county can and is intending to expand the number of cameras in its automated enforcement program, but where can place cameras is still limited by state law or the requirement to get approval before adding cameras to state roads,” said Leslie Rubin, a senior legislative analyst with the county.
Montgomery County leaders want more cameras on those state-owned roads. Recent data from the OLO says only 17 percent of roads in the county are owned by the state, but 58 percent of serious traffic-related injuries and 56 percent of traffic-related deaths happen along those streets.
Police Chief Marcus Jones says at the very least, the department plans to double the number of cameras along roads they have control over because they’ve proven to be effective.
“Particularly with red-light cameras, we’ve been able to show a reduction in traffic collisions in those intersections because the public knows there are red-light cameras at those intersections and take less risk,” said Jones.