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Q1. What are automated speed enforcement (ASE) systems?

Q2. What is the goal of the work zone automated speed enforcement (ASE) program?

Q3. When did the Maryland SafeZones program begin?

Q4. How do speed cameras work?

Q5. How often are the ASE systems checked for accuracy?

Q6. Where are the speed cameras located and how are the sites selected?

Q7. How will I know if I am in a work zone with a speed camera?

Q8. If I drive past a speed camera at 2 or 3 mph over the speed limit, will I automatically get a ticket?

Q9. Can I get a citation driving through a work zone even if work is not taking place?

Q10. How long does it take to get a citation in the mail?

Q11. Is there a warning period before citations are issued?

Q12. What is the fine? Are points assessed against my driver's license?

Q13. How do I pay the fine?

Q14. What if I don't pay the fine?

Q15. Are the citations reviewed before they are mailed out?

Q16. How are revenues from the fines used?

Q17. What if I wasn't driving my car at the time of the violation? Am I still responsible for paying the fine?

Q18. Can I appeal a speed camera citation?

Q19. Are speed cameras an invasion of privacy?

Q20. What happens if my vehicle's registration is suspended? How do I obtain a flag release?

Q21. What happens if my citation has been forwarded to Maryland Central Collection Unit (CCU)?

 

Q1: What are automated speed enforcement (ASE) systems?

A: An automated speed enforcement (ASE) system is an enforcement technique with one or more motor vehicle sensors producing recorded images of motor vehicles traveling at speeds above a defined threshold. Images captured by ASE systems are processed and reviewed in an office environment. All citations are reviewed and certified by a police officer. Violation notices are then mailed to the registered owner of the violating vehicle. Often, ASE systems are referred to as speed cameras.

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Q2: What is the goal of the work zone automated speed enforcement (ASE) program?

A: The goals of the program, also known as the Maryland SafeZones program, are to encourage a change in driver behavior and to increase driver awareness of the impacts of speed-related crashes in work zones. Driving too fast for conditions is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes. Nearly one-third of all fatal crashes are speeding-related. [NHTSA, 2007]

Lane restrictions and other hazards in a work zone make it imperative for drivers to stay alert and obey the posted speed limit. Driving too fast for conditions reduces a driver's ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the roadway, extends the distance necessary to stop a vehicle, and increases the distance a vehicle travels while a driver reacts to a dangerous situation.

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Q3: When did the Maryland SafeZones program begin?

A: The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) and Maryland State Police (MSP) began the pilot automated speed enforcement program, Maryland SafeZones, on October 1, 2009, coinciding with the date Maryland law allowed speed cameras in work zones. Refer to Transportation Article § 21-810 for additional details on the law.

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Q4: How do speed cameras work?

A: The ASE system measures the speed of each passing vehicle. A series of photographs are recorded to document vehicles traveling at or above a determined speed threshold. The date, time, and location of the violation, as well as the speed and license plate of the violator's vehicle are recorded. Following the proper identification of the registered owner of the vehicle using the license plate number, the registered owner is mailed a citation, which includes the violation photos and the vehicle speed.

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Q5: How often are the ASE systems checked for accuracy?

A: Each ASE system undergoes an annual calibration check by an independent calibration laboratory. Maryland law also requires ASE systems to pass certain self-tests before producing a recorded image each time the ASE system is set up. These system self-tests are performed before each deployment by a trained operator and documented in a daily set-up log. A system self-test is also conducted at the end of each ASE deployment.

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Q6: Where are the speed cameras located and how are the sites selected?

A: To maximize the program's flexibility and impact, the speed cameras used in work zones are deployed in sport-utility vehicles referred to as "mobile ASE units". A mobile ASE unit can be located within the limits of any work zone on expressways and controlled access highways where the speed limit is 45 mph or greater. As of July 15, 2011, there are seven (7) mobile ASE units that rotate through a series of predetermined work zones throughout the state. The work zone locations are posted online on the Maryland SafeZones website. SHA, MDTA and MSP use a variety of factors to determine camera deployment locations, including roadway and work zone characteristics such as facility type, speed limit, temporary traffic control activities and whether traditional in-person enforcement is viable.

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Q7: How will I know if I am in a work zone with a speed camera?

A: Large warning signs are posted to provide motorists adequate advance notice of work zones where photo speed enforcement may be occurring.

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Additionally, a speed display trailer posts the speed limit and provides a digital reading of approaching vehicle speeds in advance of the enforcement vehicle. The intent of the trailer is to prompt drivers to check their speedometers so that they can reduce their vehicle speed if necessary. The speed display trailer is not used for issuing citations. Regardless of the presence of speed cameras, drivers should always obey the posted speed limit in work zones.

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Q8: If I drive past a speed camera at 2 or 3 mph over the speed limit, will I automatically get a ticket?

A: No. In accordance with Maryland law, images are only captured and used for the purpose of issuing a citation if a vehicle is exceeding the posted work zone speed limit by 12 mph or greater.

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Q9: Can I get a citation driving through a work zone even if work is not taking place?

A: Yes. Citations may be issued regardless of whether workers are present in the work zone. Work zone speed limits are established in the interest of safety for both the motoring public and workers. Often, it is imperative for motorists to obey a reduced speed limit to safely navigate through work zones where roadway alignment and geometric changes, narrow lanes, or other potential hazards may be encountered. National research has shown that four (4) out of five (5) crash-related injuries in work zones are suffered by motorists.

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Q10: How long does it take to get a citation in the mail?

A: For vehicles registered in Maryland, citations are mailed no later than 14 days after the violation occurs. For vehicles registered in another state, citations are mailed no later than 30 days after the violation occurs.

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Q11: Will there be a warning period before citations are issued?

A: Yes. Warnings were issued at the onset of the program for a 45 day period (October 1 through November 15, 2009) to increase awareness of the program. Currently, the Maryland SafeZones program issues warnings for a three (3) week period following the initial ASE deployment in all new long-term work zones. After the three (3) week period, citations are issued. For short-term projects, such as paving projects, warnings are not issued.

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Q12: What is the fine? Are points assessed against my driver's license?

A: Violators must pay a $40 fine. Automated speed enforcement violations are considered civil violations; therefore, no license points are assessed.

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Q13: How do I pay the fine?

A: Options for paying the fine can be found on the back of the original citation notice or by clicking on the “Pay A Ticket” tab on the Maryland SafeZones website. Payment options include pay-by-web, pay-by-mail, pay-by-phone, or paying in person at a Maryland SafeZones walk-in facility. Please note that a $2.00 processing fee is assessed for all credit card transactions.
Walk-in center locations and hours of operations:

Burtonsville, MD

Address:

  • SafeZones Walk-in Payment Center
  • 4040 Blackburn Lane, Suite 200
  • Burtonsville, MD 20866
Hours:
  • 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday
  • Closed on State holidays
Baltimore, MD

Address:
  • Baltimore Harbor Tunnel Stop-in Center
  • 1200 Frankfurst Avenue
  • Baltimore, MD 21226
Hours:
  • 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
  • 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Wednesday
  • Closed on State holidays
Frederick, MD

Address:
  • SafeZones Walk-in Payment Center
  • 1003 W. 7th Street, Suite 315
  • Frederick, MD 21701
Hours:
  • 8:30 a.m. – 12 noon, 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday Friday
  • 8:30 a.m. – 12 noon Last Saturday of the Month
  • Closed on State holidays

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Q14: What if I don't pay the fine?

A: Failure to pay the fine or contest the violation in court can result in additional fees and penalties. If the fine is not paid within sixty (60) days, the motor vehicle's registration will be suspended and an additional $30 fee will be assessed by Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) over and above the original citation amount. The $30 fee assessed by the MVA must be paid directly to the MVA.

If the fine is not paid within ninety (90) days, the unpaid citation will be forwarded to the State of Maryland Central Collection Unit (CCU). CCU will assess a fee in the amount of 17% of the fee due or $6.80 per citation. Payment of the original $40 fine and $6.80 CCU fee must be made directly to the Maryland Central Collection Unit (CCU); it can no longer be paid to the Maryland Safezones Program. For CCU payment option and information, contact them at 410-767-1220 (toll free at 1-888-248-0345) or visit their website.

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Q15: Does anyone review the citations before they are mailed out?

A: Yes. In addition to being reviewed by the ASE system contractor, each citation is verified and approved by a police officer employed by the Maryland State Police or the Maryland Transportation Authority Police. The reviewing police officer signs a statement on the citation that indicates the vehicle was being operated in violation of the law based on inspection of the recorded images.

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Q16: How are revenues from the fines used?

A: Revenue from the fines is used to cover the costs incurred by the Maryland State Police and State Highway Administration in implementing and administering the automated speed enforcement program. For the first three (3) years of the program, the balance of any excess revenues is distributed to the State Police to fund roadside enforcement activities. After three years, the balance of excess revenues will be distributed to the Transportation Trust Fund.

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Q17: What if I wasn't driving my car at the time of the violation? Am I still responsible for paying the fine?

A: If you were not driving your car at the time of the violation, you must provide a sworn statement explaining the circumstances. Your statement must swear or affirm that you were not operating the vehicle at the time of the violation. In addition, your statement must include corroborating evidence that you were not driving the vehicle at the time of the violation. Examples of providing corroborating evidence include:

  • Providing the name, address and driver’s license number, if possible, of the person who was driving the vehicle at the time of the violation.
  • Providing a copy of a police report showing that the vehicle or license plates were stolen (Note: Police reports must have been filed in a timely manner or they will not be considered as evidence.)
Your statement must include the citation number and be received no later than thirty (30) days after the mail date of the citation. Your statement must be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested to:
  • Maryland SafeZones
  • P.O. Box 17648
  • Baltimore, MD 21297
The SafeZones program will forward your statement and corroborating evidence to the appropriate District Court for adjudication and will inform you by mail of the decision of the Court.

In transfer of liability cases, after receiving evidence from the District Court as to who was operating the vehicle at the time of the violation, the police department that issued the original citation may issue a citation to the person named as the driver of the vehicle. This citation will be mailed within two weeks of the police department receiving evidence from the District Court.

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Q18: Can I appeal a speed camera citation?

A: Yes. Any vehicle owner who receives a citation has the option to appeal. All citations are contested in Maryland District Court; mail adjudication is not permitted in the State of Maryland.
To request a trial, complete the request form at the bottom of your citation, sign and return it at least five days prior to the due date on the front of the notice, to:

  • Maryland SafeZones
  • P.O. Box 17648
  • Baltimore, MD 21297
You will be notified by mail of the court date, time and location. You must appear in court on the scheduled court date or pay the citation prior to that date. If you do not receive a letter with the court date, time and location within 30 days of your request for a trial, call the Maryland SafeZones customer service at 1-877-578-7440.

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Q19: Are speed cameras an invasion of privacy?

A: No. Speed cameras only record images of vehicles whose drivers violate traffic laws by speeding. When motorists apply for a driver's license, they are agreeing to abide by the rules of the road. The purpose of the Maryland SafeZones program is to improve highway safety by detecting motorists who violate the law and endanger the lives of other motorists and construction workers.

In addition, speed cameras only record vehicles traveling at or above a defined speed threshold. Law-abiding citizens are unaffected by the use of this technology, since images are only captured when a vehicle passes at a speed equal to or greater than the defined threshold.

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Q20: What happens if my vehicle's registration is suspended? How do I obtain a flag release?

A: If you have received a notice from MVA or are unable to renew your registration, you will need to obtain a flag release.

First, contact Maryland SafeZones Customer Service at 1-877-578-7440 to determine if your account has been forwarded to Maryland Central Collection Unit (CCU).

If your citation is between 61 and 90 days outstanding:

  • Your account will still be with the Maryland SafeZones program office. You will be able to pay Maryland SafeZones directly and obtain the flag release from them. Refer to Q13: How do I pay the fine? above for information regarding payment options.
If your citation is outstanding 91 days or greater and has been forwarded to Maryland Central Collection Unit (CCU):
  1. You must make payment of the $40 fine and $6.80 CCU fee directly to CCU; you can no longer make payment through the Maryland SafeZones program. First, contact CCU at 410-767-1220 (toll free at 1-888-248-0345) or visit their website for payment options. If you make payment by web or by phone, via credit card, you will be issued a confirmation number. If you pay cash at their Preston Street location, you must ask the customer service representative to add a note to your account. If you pay by money order or certified check through the mail, please allow enough time for the receipt and processing of your payment.
  2. Once you have paid CCU, contact the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) at 410-545-5744 with your payment confirmation number or account noted by CCU if payment was made by cash. Please also have your citation number ready. The SHA customer service representative will then add a note your account so that the Maryland SafeZones program office can see that you have paid the fine. SHA phone lines are open M-F from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm and closed on state holidays.
  3. After providing confirmation of your payment to SHA, contact Maryland SafeZones Customer Service at 1-877-578-7440 to obtain the flag release form to take to MVA. You may be required to pick up a hard copy of the flag release form from a SafeZones walk-in center.

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Q21: What happens if my citation has been forwarded to Maryland Central Collection Unit (CCU)?

A: Please follow the steps below:

  1. You must make payment of the $40 fine and $6.80 CCU fee directly to CCU; you can no longer make payment through the Maryland SafeZones program. First, contact CCU at 410-767-1220 (toll free at 1-888-248-0345) or visit their website for payment options. If you make payment by web or by phone, via credit card, you will be issued a confirmation number. If you pay cash at their Preston Street location, you must ask the customer service representative to add a note to your account. If you pay by money order or certified check through the mail, please allow enough time for the receipt and processing of your payment.
  2. Once you have paid CCU, contact the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) at 410-545-5744 with your payment confirmation number or account noted by CCU if payment was made by cash. Please also have your citation number ready. The SHA customer service representative will then add a note your account so that the Maryland SafeZones program office can see that you have paid the fine. SHA phone lines are open M-F from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm and closed on state holidays.
  3. After providing confirmation of your payment to SHA, contact Maryland SafeZones Customer Service at 1-877-578-7440 to obtain the flag release form to take to MVA. You may be required to pick up a hard copy of the flag release form from a SafeZones walk-in center.

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