Howard County Police Chief Writes Letter in Support of Speed Cameras

… McMahon cites yearlong study by department, encourages residents to attend public hearing …

Posted 4/16/11

A day after a County Council work session turned into a passionate discussion about how to reduce speeding in Howard County, Police Chief William McMahon issued a letter to the editor expressing his support for speed cameras in school zones and inviting residents to attend a public meeting.

McMahon said his department arrived at the decision after conducting a yearlong study of traffic in school zones. “The data was clear: drivers are speeding near our schools,” he writes.

A public hearing on the issue will be held this Wednesday. 

This past Thursday, Ellicott City Democrat Courtney Watson interrupted a discussion on road improvement projects to discuss concerns about speeding in the county. 

“It’s the No. 1 complaint (of residents),” she said. “They are concerned about pedestrians being hit, kids being hurt, just safety, pulling out of their driveways.”

On Friday, McMahon issued the following letter to the editor:

April 15, 2011

Dear Editor:

My job, as Chief of Police, is to ensure the safety of our community and we do that in many ways. Slowing drivers down has always been a challenge for law enforcement. We are especially concerned about the effect speeding drivers can have on the safety of children.

That’s why the police department is supporting the use of speed cameras in school zones in Howard County. We hope you will, too. 

We did not rush to this decision. My staff conducted a year-long study of how fast cars were driving in school zones. The result? The data was clear: drivers are speeding near our schools.

Tens of thousands of children are hit by cars and injured in the U.S. each year. Inexperienced teenage drivers endanger themselves and others by driving too fast. Non-fatal cases don’t always make the news, but they do happen.

School zones are one of the places where kids are most susceptible to these types of injuries. Even if a collision is unavoidable, a car traveling slowly is likely to create less damage or injury than one that is speeding.

Parents and community members have been telling us for years that speeding near schools is a problem. We listened. We heard you. Now we want to do something about it. Join me at a public hearing before the Howard County Council April 20th and show your support for this important effort to safeguard our children.


William J. McMahon

Chief of Police

— Staff reports

Columbia Flier

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