Police: Speed camera program
Speed camera enforcement locations
View/pay the citation online
School Zone Speed Camera Report to the County Council (March 2014)
Program history and background
Vehicles speeding on residential and school zone roadways are one of the top complaints that the County Executive, the County Council and the Department of Police receive on a weekly basis.
In 2009, in response to the high number of complaints received during their tenure in office, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, Chief of Police William McMahon and Maryland State Senator James N. Robey co-authored state legislation authorizing automated speed enforcement via the use of speed cameras.
After the General Assembly passed the legislation, Executive Ulman asked Chief McMahon to review the legislation and evaluate the problem in Howard County school zones. The Department of Police conducted speed studies and collected data for more than a year. More than 70 school zones were evaluated. The results showed that 65 percent of vehicles in school zones were traveling above the posted speed limit, and 18 percent of all vehicles (more than 32,000) were traveling at least 11 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.
Legislation was introduced before the Howard County Council in the spring of 2011. The legislation authorizes the Department of Police to use speed monitoring systems in school zones within Howard County. The overall goal of the speed camera program is to change driver behavior in school zones.
In May 2011, the County Council passed Council Bill 13-2011, authorizing the use of speed cameras in Howard County. The department began to issue warnings in October 2011 and began to issue citations in November 2011.
The Howard County program will utilize manned mobile systems to enable the department to be both proactive and reactive to the continuing problem of speeding in school zones. Mobile systems do not require roadway improvements or roadway construction, resulting in no inconvenience to the public. Only members of the police department certified to operate the camera system and equipment will staff the mobile systems.
By statute, enforcement can take place Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Enforcement will take place on specific roadways, at specific times, based on the data collected from the department’s speed studies, as well as complaints the department continues to receive from a variety of sources.
Citations issued through the speed camera program are civil violations that carry a $40 fine and no points. A citation is issued to the owner of the vehicle. The owner may request a hearing to contest the citation in Howard County District Court. Failure to pay the fine or attend court will result in a notification to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. The owner’s registration will be flagged; this will prevent renewal of the vehicle’s registration plates.
All monies raised will go back into the administration of the program. Funds above costs are designated for public safety programs only.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are the speed cameras located?
Howard County has 70 public schools and more than 30 private schools. Any roadway that has been posted as a school zone is eligible for enforcement.
How is a school zone defined?
Maryland law defines a school zone as within a half-mile radius of any school where either the State Highway Administration or the local authority (Howard County Department of Public Works, Traffic Engineering) may establish a school zone and set maximum speed limits applicable in the school zone. School zones must be established by placing signs designating the school zone and signs that designate the maximum speed limit applicable in the school zone. Howard County is only conducting speed camera enforcement on roadways that either front the school or border school property or roadways along student walking routes that have been designated as school zones. All of our locations are posted with signs designating them as school zones, and all of them have a sign posted indicating that photo enforcement is used on the roadway.
How many speed cameras are in use in Howard County?
Since we are starting a new program, we will begin our enforcement with two mobile systems. The program is authorized to expand to a maximum number of eight systems.
How does the speed camera work?
The technology we are using is based upon LASER technology. The imaging system creates a three dimensional representation of each vehicle on the roadway and tracks that vehicle for an extended period of time. At the end of the tracking period, the system determines the average speed of the vehicle during the tracking period. The system monitors traffic going away from the mobile system and takes photographs of the rear of the vehicle. When the vehicle is traveling 12 MPH or greater over the posted speed limit, two separate photographs are taken to show the progression of the vehicle. A vehicle identifier box is embedded in the image at the time the photograph is taken.
Where is the citation sent? How long after the violation is it sent?
The citation is mailed to the address of the vehicle’s registered owner that is listed by the MVA. The citation is required by law to be mailed within 14 days of the violation.
What information will be displayed on the citation?
The citation will include three photographs showing the vehicle committing the violation and the vehicle’s tag number. Those photographs will include a data bar that contains the date, time, and location of the violation; violation number; speed limit; vehicle speed; and equipment number. The citation will also include instructions for paying the fine or for requesting a court date. It will contain the signature of the police officer who certified the citation by reviewing the images and determined that the violation took place. The citation also contains a link to a website where you can view the citation online.
View/pay the citation online
Who is responsible for paying the citation?
The citation is issued to the registered owner of the vehicle, similar to a parking ticket. The registered owner is the responsible party who must ensure the fine is paid or request a court date.
What are the fines imposed for a speed camera violation?
By law, the fine is $40. You have three options to pay the fine.
Pay online: View/pay the citation online. There is a convenience fee. Major credit cards are accepted.
Mail a check: You may also mail a check for the amount due to the Howard County Speed Camera Program, P.O. Box 17022, Baltimore, MD, 21297-1022. Checks should be made payable to the Howard County Director of Finance.
In person: Go in person to the George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043. The finance office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Methods of payment are cash, check made out to Howard County Director of Finance or Discover Card (convenience fee added). A drop box is also available in front of the George Howard Building for payments deposited after hours.
Will this violation go on my driving record? Are there points assessed? What about my insurance rates?
Speed camera citations are civil citations that do not carry points. They are similar to parking citations and are not reflected on your driving record. Insurance companies are not allowed to access speed camera violation information.
How can I contact the Howard County speed camera program?
The office phone number is 410-313-5770, and the fax is 410-313-5756.