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June 2, 2009

Speeding crackdown on I-95

The police were putting on quite a show Tuesday evening on Interstate 95 south of Baltimore between 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The stretch of about 2 miles between Caton Avenue and the Beltway was lit up like a Christmas tree with flashing police lights. There were four police cars or motorcycles within that short stretch that had pulled over motorists. Another two officers of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police were lying in wait.

When I was younger I might have thought "pigs." At my advanced age, I have to say I was gratified to see the traffic laws actually being enforced.

For a few miles drivers seemed to actually drive in a relatively subdued manner. But by the time we hit the Patapsco River bridge, it was back to the races. It was good to have a few minutes' break from the insanity though. Thanks, officers.

Posted by Michael Dresser at 9:22 PM | | Comments (33)
Categories: On the roads
        

Comments

It's a calming influence for me to know that the police department is worried about speeders when violent crime is taking place in Baltimore City every single day.

So it is true, the older you get, the dumber ou get

Yesterday the City of Baltimore was rated by the FBI the number 1 most violent city in America! Great, don't speed cause you'll get caught, but please feel free to kill someone or beat up someone in the inner harbor! Maybe the MDTA police should spend more of their time at the port or BWI worring about terrorist then people driving 10 miles over the speed limit. At the end of the day, people in that area aren't really driving all that fast because it's one of the more congested areas of the state.

So JohnJ, by that comment I'm guessing you're at least 100 years old?

Were the police going after their own? From the article: "...There were four police cars or motorcycles within that short stretch pulled over by police." Now that's what I call aggressive enforcement!

You are probably the annoying guy that drives 60 mph on 95. If you don't like the high speed of travel, stay off the highway.

"There were four police cars or motorcycles within that short stretch pulled over by police."

Really? The police were pulling over other police for speeding! That is news!!!

I live in north Highlandtown, far from being the nicest area of the city, yet I feel much more threatened by certain drivers than I do by the drug dealers and users on the streets outside my door.

Warning: I am finding that some drivers actually seem to be enraged by someone who drivers 60 mph (and *not* in the fast lane) on I83 OR I695.

What is the role of the Maryland Transportation Authority police anyway? I see them at the bridges, but I also see them pulling cars over.

Reckless speeding is just as dangerous and just as against the law as other violent crimes. Unfortunately, those committing the speeding crime think it is their "right and privilege."

I remember when the State Police drove side by side around I-695 and I-495 to show people that slowing down was serious. Sorry but what does getting there 10 minutes before someone else do.

Enforcement should be stepped up with penalties enforced but eliminate the points....insurance companies don't need too charge more than they already are.

Put more officers on the streets...let these MTA officers work the games at the Stadium and Ballpark and let Baltimore City Police patrol the streets!!!

Put more officers on the streets...let these MTA officers work the games at the Stadium and Ballpark and let Baltimore City Police patrol the streets!!!

Ron,

MdTA is not the same as the Baltimore Police Department. While I question the need for a police force, separate from the Maryland State Police, to enforce traffic laws for our toll highways, your criticism is directed at the wrong group.

I agree, it's nice to see the police out enforcing the traffic laws, but what about enforcing a law that requires slow drivers to stay in the right lanes??? These drivers don't even do the speed limit. They are in the left lanes and hold up traffic unmercifully. Yet I would be considered an aggressive driver for trying to get around them. They absolutely impede traffic. I drive 95 and 295 every day and it is ridiculous how they tie up/back up traffic.

Let's just call it what it is. It's revenue collecting not traffic law enforcement...

Questions for the author: is speeding wrong because it is illegal, because it annoys you, or is speeding wrong because it poses a danger to others? What is really a safe speed on a limited access divided highway? Given that not all vehicles handle equally, should someone driving a U-Haul truck have to follow the same speed limit as someone driving a sports car or motorcycle? Can you explain why the fatality rate on Germany's AutoBahn is lower than any US Interstate Hwy? Recognizing that speed in a straight line is much safer than speed weaving through lanes, what do you think of a drive right law?

There is no statistically relevant data to support that moderate SPEEDING ALONE has been the direct cause of ANY fatal accidents. While the definition of speeding can be interpreted in different ways I believe that anyone going 20mph over the speed limit or under will not cause an accident. Anyone going over 20mph over the speed limit is usually categorized as aggressive driving which is a totally different mentality all together. Speeding tickets are just another way to tax citizens and raise revenue to pay for more overtime to the cops that are sitting on the highways pointing their radar/ladar guns at me when there are far more productive things that my tax dollars could be spent on.

F you cops who think you're making a difference by giving regular people speeding tickets during non-peak driving hours for going 80 in a 65 on I-95.

Simple reasoning Ron: If you catch speeders (which has a 100% success rate) it creates $$...If you catch murderers (2-5% success rate??) it simply takes a killer off the streets, no $$.

Police patrolling that stretch of roadway is Authority Operations. They patrol a portion of I-95 and all of I-895 and I-695 near the Key Bridge and have no affiliation with city police. They also sit in that area quite frequently and often catch drug runners driving through Baltimore. Just an FYI.

2 miles of 95 are safe but at least we still lead the nation in murders.

2 miles of 95 are safe but at least we still lead the nation in murders.

glad to hear they were out there. now if it were more than just the two miles!

Please take note that the MDTA, the subject of this paragraph, does not have jurisdiction in Balto. City. The city police dept. handles that criminal element, while Maryland Transportation Authority covers the major roadways, airports, bridges, etc. You should pay attention and research your intended comments before you make an uninformed statement.

When I had an accident at that portion of I-95, it took almost 2 hrs to get a cop to show up and does not want to to be bothered by an accident report. When I passed by yesterday, 4 squad cars were pulled over behind 1 speeder. Must be a really slow day.

Speeders! Thats great......our City is #1 in Homicides and were paying these bozos to patrol 95 for drivers going 70 or 75. Makes sense to me

I'm a Baltimore city resident who drives frequently in Montgomery County. Believe me, the drivers there are far worse, with little visible enforcement. It's not just the speeding (50 plus in a 40 mph zone) but also dangerous tactics like using right turn lanes to pass in heavy traffic.
I too fail to understand (other than craven politics) why Maryland does not require driving on the right except when necessary to pass. The right rear is the least visible sight line for a driver.
And then the drivers who enter I 95 and cut across traffic to use the left lane even when it is not necessary to pass. Or those who fail to yield to oncoming cars as required when entering the highway.
Those who think they have a right to drive as they please without regard to the safety of other drivers are just as dangerous as drug dealers.

Drivers who sit in the left lane (many times below posted limit) when traffic allows moving over cause more problems than speeders. This is more common in MD than many places. Drive right, pass left!

BOB,

The MdTA already has over 100 officers stationed at BWI. How many more would you like? Last time I checked there were not that many murders at BWI or the Port of Baltimore.

JON,

First, its MdTA not MTA that this discussion is talking about.

Second, who exactly is the MdTA Police collecting revenue for? Not the MdTA because they do not get any of the money collected from traffic citations.

Most of you are sick. These comments are just of a selfish America. No one cares about speeding and aggressive driving until it’s their family member that is killed or injured, and then the police are not doing enough. I think that its good to see officers out there doing their job. I love all of the uneducated comments about police work and the ways of law enforcement. Did you take the time to think that there were four police officers behind one car because there was a CRIMINAL in that car that assaulted the officer, was smuggling drugs or guns, was a dangerous felon, had a warrant? No of course not most people just assume that the officers had nothing to do and that they were just harassing the public for speeding, let’s get real. As far as police writing tickets to see any result of the assessed fines is a joke, that money goes into the state’s general fund and the officers on the street never see that money.

Patrick:

I drive up and down I-95 EVERYDAY from Philly to Richmond and the I see 6-7 police cars pulling one person over only in MD on I-95. Most of the time, the "criminal" you are talking about is a black male sitting on the guard rail or ground, not in hand cuffs, while one officer goes through his personal belongings in the truck while the other 7 officers stand on the side of the road b.s.'ing. And i know this because: A: I see it and B: Because a guy I know is one of those cops standing their offering "support". But it's like he says, I get paid no matter what I do.

And if it isn't some black guy, it's two or three young white or hispanic kids.

And while the officers may never see the money, at the end of the day, you will not get around the fact that the police have quotas, oh excuse me, "performance measurements".

No one has a concern with an officer of the law doing their job when it's truly to protect us from criminals and people who should not be driving a motor vehicle, it's just when the police become pimps for the insurance companies that people get upset.

Rob,

I am a police officer, not for the mdta, but I can tell you that neither I nor any other cop I know is a "pimp" for insurance companies. What do we get from insurance companies? Nothing. Let’s not forget that cops are normal people like everyone else and we also have to pay car insurance. Don’t break the law and your premiums won’t go up. It’s just that simple!

Dave:

I haven't gotten a ticket in probably 25 years, so i don't really worry about it. But what I do see in my neighborhood is houses being broken into, druggies in the park, cars being vandalized, graffitti from gangs, seniors being harrassed by little thugs at the shopping center, etc, etc, etc. And I never see YOU or any of your colleagues dealing with these issues or for that matter, even driving through my neighborhood. And please don't lecture me on how I should call the precint, WE ALL have done that many times. But i do know that if I need a cop, i can drive about 2 miles from here and on this road with a big hill that is posted way too low (no one actually lives on this road), I can find the police 24/7 working as revenue agents for the insurance companies and the State of MD. See Dave, the basic problem is that I would rather YOU be in my neighborhood dealing with these thugs and criminals and not raising money for the State on a road where no one lives. There has never been an accident or anyone killed on that road. The bright side is that at least I know where the police are if I actually need one. Hopefully, like Texas, maybe one day we will get a real carry law in this State so the honest, upstanding citizens can do YOUR JOB and protect ourselves since you are too busy generating revenue.

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About Michael Dresser
Michael Dresser has been an editor, reporter and columnist with The Sun longer than Baltimore's had a subway. He's covered retailing, telecommunications, state politics and wine. Since 2004, he's been The Sun's transportation writer. He lives in Ellicott City with his wife and travel companion, Cindy.

His Getting There column appears on Mondays. Mike's blog will be a forum for all who are interested in highways, transit and other transportation issues affecting Baltimore, Maryland and the region.
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