Maryland OKs doing away with suspensions for red-light camera violators

May 4, 2020

Keith Goble

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The Maryland General Assembly has approved legislation intended to help keep certain drivers on the road after a minor traffic violation. Red-light cameras are the focus of the effort.

There are six counties around the state that have red-light camera programs. The city of Baltimore and 22 other jurisdictions use the devices. Violators face fines up to $100.

The existing rule in Maryland authorizes the Motor Vehicle Administration to suspend registrations for drivers who fail to pay their red-light camera tickets.

In order to have a registration reactivated, the violator must pay the ticket and a $30 administrative fee.

Unused/unneeded red-light camera

House and Senate lawmakers endorsed legislation to do away with registration suspensions for lack of payment.

Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher, D-Montgomery, said that while states around the country allow the use of red-light cameras, Maryland is the lone state to have registration suspension as a consequence for nonpayment.

Delegate Al Carr, D-Montgomery, referred to the rule as being an example of the “criminalization of poverty.”

“It’s a bad policy to suspend a registration for minor traffic debt,” Carr said during a bill hearing.

He added that the MVA does not like the rule.

“This provision is unneeded, and it is unused. The MVA doesn’t really want it,” Carr said. “In the past three years there have been zero registrations suspended for red-light camera debt.”

Waldstreicher pointed out that state law already prohibits registration renewals for individuals with outstanding fines or fees. Violators still are required to pay when renewing their registration.

The legislation, HB46/SB177, has an Oct. 1, effective date.

More Land Line coverage of news from Maryland is available.

Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.