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What are automated speed enforcement (ASE) systems?

Automated Speed Enforcement is similar to speed enforcement by police officers, in that it uses technological equipment and cameras to detect and record vehicle speeds above a certain threshold. The difference is that the recorded information is later reviewed by a law enforcement officer and a citation is issued to the vehicle owner by mail, rather than an officer pulling a driver over on the road and issuing an instant citation to the driver. ASE systems are also called speed cameras.

Why use automated speed enforcement and not a real officer?

Police enforcement is still very appropriate in many circumstances. ASE provides consistent enforcement in areas where speeding is particularly treacherous – school zones. The danger of speeding in school zones is the higher probability of young, often impulsive pedestrians being struck and hurt or killed.

Does my jurisdiction need to pass a law prior to installing speed camera?

Yes. Local jurisdictions must pass local law authorizing the use of automated speed enforcement systems prior to placing them on their roadways. Jurisdictions must provide reasonable public notice and hold a public hearing prior to passing this local law.

Will the Maryland State Police implement the ASE Program in my jurisdiction?

Local law enforcement is responsible for implementing School Zone ASE programs. The Maryland State Police is not authorized to implement local School Zone ASE programs.

What if our municipality does not maintain a police force?

If your municipality does not maintain a police force, Maryland law allows you to establish or designate an agency to implement your School Zone ASE program.

What is a “School Zone?”

School zones do not automatically exist around schools nor are they created simply by the installation of School Advance or School Crosswalk Warning signs. School zones must be established by definitive, official action by the authority having jurisdiction over the highway and designated by the appropriate signs. A clear definition of “school zone” must be established be each jurisdiction. The following definitions have been adopted by the Maryland State Highway Administration for schools abutting State roads:
  • A “School” is an accredited public, parochial or private learning institution for one or more grades kindergarten through 12.
  • A “School Area” is the area surrounding, and within one-half mile of, a school building or property and within which motor vehicle, pedestrian or bicycle traffic is substantially generated or influenced by the school.
  • A “School Zone” is a designated roadway segment approaching, adjacent to, and beyond* school buildings or grounds, or along which school related activities occur.
  • “Designated” means that the school zone (1) is established by official action by the entity that owns the highway containing the segment; and, (2) is appropriately signed in conformance with the MdMUTCD and guidance issued by the State Highway Administration.
  • “School buildings or grounds” mean school property that school children routinely enter directly from the subject road segment.
  • “School related activities” include school children traveling to or from school on foot or by bicycle, school buses and other vehicles entering or leaving school property, school children being dropped off or picked up at the school, and combinations thereof that create an unusual risk of injury to school children.

*Except in unusual circumstances and as justified by a traffic engineering study, a school zone adjacent to a school should not exceed 500 feet approaching or beyond the school or the school activity. Where that activity is a school crossing only, the school zone typically should end a short distance beyond the crossing.

Are all roads within a one-half (½) mile radius of a school considered to be in a “School Zone?”

No. The Maryland Annotated Code (TR § 21-803.1) allows School Zones to be established within a one-half mile radius of any school. However, this does not mean that all roadways within a one-half mile radius should be a school zone. The State Highway Administration or the local authority having jurisdiction over the roadway must officially establish a School Zone and designate it with the appropriate signs before it becomes a School Zone. Refer to the discussion on “What is a School Zone?” above.

What is the process for obtaining authorization to install a speed camera on a State route?

Installing a speed camera in a school zone along a State route requires the approval of the State Highway Administration. A representative of the local jurisdiction must complete and submit a Permit Application for Automated Speed Enforcement Systems in School Zones (PDF, 109kb) and all required attachments to the District Engineer in the appropriate District Office. The application package should include:
  • Completed ASE Permit Application Form
  • Vicinity Map
  • Plans for the ASE system
  • Documentation of local ordinance or resolution approving the use of ASE systems
  • Evaluation plan (for before-after studies)
  • Lane Closure Permit Application (as needed)

Refer to SHA’s Guidelines for Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) Systems in School Zones (PDF, 1MB) for additional information.

What are the requirements for notifying the public of the speed camera locations?

Maryland law requires local jurisdictions to publish notice of the location of all unmanned stationary ASE systems on its website and in a newspaper of general circulation in the jurisdiction.
 
In addition, signing that identifies the roadway segment as a school zone, displays the posted speed limit, and provides notice of the presence of ASE systems is required. Signing along State highways shall conform to all SHA guidance and specifications.

Once the first speed camera is deployed, can a jurisdiction automatically start issuing citations?

No. For a period of at least 30 days after the first school zone speed camera is installed in a jurisdiction, violations recorded may only be enforced by the issuance of warnings.

Are there restrictions on the days and times tickets can be issued?

Yes. Maryland law restricts the recording of images in school zones to Monday through Friday, from 6 AM to 8 PM. Within those limits, each jurisdiction or municipality may set the time periods for enforcement.

How much is the fine and are there points?

Maryland law dictates that the automated speed enforcement fine may not exceed $40. The citation is a civil penalty, which means that no points are assessed. If you were pulled over by a law enforcement officer in a school zone and issued a citation for exceeding the speed limit by 12 mph, the fine would be significantly more and would include points.

To whom will the citation penalties be paid?

For uncontested citations, the penalty will be paid directly to the political subdivision. For contested citations, the penalty will be paid directly to the District Court.

How can revenue from the fines be used?

Revenue must first be used to recover the costs of implementing and administering the School Zone ASE program. Any remaining balance must be used for public safety purposes, including pedestrian safety programs.
 
However, for any fiscal year, if the balance after recovering program costs is greater than 10 percent of the total revenue for a political subdivision for that fiscal year, any funds that exceed that 10 percent total must be remitted to the Comptroller to be placed in the General Fund of the State.

If a County wants to place a speed camera on a State route within the boundaries of a municipality, what is required?

First, obtain permission from the State Highway Administration (SHA) to use a speed camera at the proposed location within that municipality. This is done by completing and submitting a Permit Application for Automated Speed Enforcement Systems in School Zones (PDF, 109kb) and all required attachments to the District Engineer in the appropriate District Office. The application package should include:
  • Completed ASE Permit Application Form
  • Vicinity Map
  • Plans for the ASE system
  • Documentation of local ordinance or resolution approving the use of ASE systems
  • Evaluation plan (for before-after studies)
  • Lane Closure Permit Application (as needed)

Refer to SHA’s Guidelines for Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) Systems in School Zones (PDF, 1 MB) for additional information on the application process.

Once SHA has approved the use of the speed camera at the proposed location, the County must notify the municipal corporation of SHA’s approval. The County must also grant the municipal corporation 60 days from the date of notice to enact an ordinance authorizing the use of the speed camera by the municipal corporation instead of the County.

Will SHA provide funding for my jurisdiction’s School Zone ASE program?

Each jurisdiction and municipal corporation is responsible for all costs associated with School Zone ASE programs. To fund ASE programs, Maryland law provides that revenues collected from speed camera citations cameras revert to the jurisdiction in uncontested cases. SHA provides no financial assistance for local speed camera programs.
 
 
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