The Facts about Maryland’s SafeZones Program Winter 2019

Maryland DOT

Maryland SafeZone works

  • In the work zones where SafeZones Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) systems are deployed, drivers are slowing down, as evidenced by the drop in the percentage of citations issued at these work zones. Since 2010, SafeZones has been deployed at 84 enforcement locations in work zones on Interstates, National Highways and Maryland State Routes.
  • When the program began, seven percent of drivers in SafeZones enforced work zones exceeded the speed limit by 12 miles per hour (mph) or more. Today, fewer than one percent of drivers receives a citation, showing a near 90 percent reduction in the number of vehicles traveling 12 mph or more above the work zone speed limit.

SafeZones ensures driver and passenger safety as well as worker safety.

  • The SafeZones program not only safeguards workers; it also protects drivers and passengers traveling through construction zones. Nationally, four out of every five work zone fatalities involve vehicle drivers and passengers.
  • In 2018, 11 people, including two highway workers, lost their lives in work zone crashes on Maryland roadways. 
  • Work zones, by nature, present challenging driving conditions. Work zone conditions, such as lane shifts, split travel lanes, reduced lane widths, concrete barriers, and uneven pavement, present potential hazards that leave little margin for driver error, even when workers are not actively working in the work zone. Driving too fast for conditions is particularly hazardous in work zones. 
  • The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) takes an integrated approach to changing driver behavior in work zones; ASE is one tool to make work zones safer. During peak construction season, there can be hundreds of work zones on Maryland highways. All work zones, not just those monitored through the SafeZones program, require attentive driving. 
  • MDOT SHA devotes funding to a public education awareness effort, which includes public service announcements, billboards and social media, reminding drivers that work zones demand one’s full attention.

SafeZones is accurate and law enforcement reviews every citation.

  • The SafeZones program uses scanning LIDAR (laser technology) to accurately capture multiple speed measurements of each passing vehicle.
  • The Maryland State Police and Maryland Transportation Authority Police review every citation to ensure fairness and accuracy.

SafeZones equipment is, and always has been, calibrated properly.

  • Initial System Calibration: SafeZones equipment is only deployed after receipt of a certificate of calibration from the manufacturer, which is separate from the vendor that operates the SafeZones equipment. The manufacturer is not involved in the program’s daily operation. Additionally, MDOT SHA obtains certificates of calibration from an independent laboratory prior to the initial deployment of each new ASE system. 
  • Annual Calibration: Each ASE system is sent to an independent laboratory annually to certify system calibration. Calibration tests verify that all SafeZones equipment functions accurately. Please visit the Maryland SafeZones website at 
  • Daily Calibration Check: Calibration of SafeZones laser-based equipment is checked by a trained individual every day, as required by law, to ensure that it measures speed accurately and does not record false violations. When an error message displays, the operator powers down and re-powers the equipment. If the error message continues, the operator does not deploy the system.
  • Calibration certificates and daily logs are on the SafeZones website at:

The vendor is paid a fixed fee per deployment.

  • MDOT SHA carefully administers its contract with Conduent, which is paid a fixed fee per deployment.
  • Traffic safety – not revenue-generation – is the purpose of the program. Large, colorful warning signs and a digital speed display trailer give drivers ample opportunity to adjust their speed before entering the speed camera’s tracking area.

Maryland SafeZones program is used only in highway construction zones.

  • Senate Bill 277, Acts of the 2009 Maryland General Assembly, authorized automated speed enforcement in highway work zones (§ 21-810, Transportation Art., Md. Code Ann.) and school zones (§ 21-809, Transportation Art., Md. Code Ann.). The SafeZones program operates only in highway work zones and is the only ASE program administered by MDOT SHA, the Maryland Transportation Authority, and Maryland State Police.
  • The SafeZones program operates in work zones along expressways and controlled access highways with a posted speed limit of 45 mph or more. Civil citations, with a $40 fine, are issued to drivers exceeding the posted speed limit by 12 mph or more in SafeZones-enforced work zones.
  • Counties and municipalities operate their own school zone speed enforcement. MDOT SHA involvement in the local school zone programs is limited to establishing designated school zones along State highways, reviewing utility permit applications for ASE equipment placement and ensuring that the physical placement of the equipment does not impede safe travel.

Source Organization Location

Maryland, MD

Operations Area of Practice

  • Work Zone Management

Organizational Capability Element

  • Work Zone Management

Content Type

  • Case Studies & Lessons Learned

Role in Organization

  • Associate Engineer
  • CEO / GM / Commissioner
  • Director / Program Manager
  • Emergency Manager
  • Engineer
  • Principal Engineer
  • Public Safety Officer
  • Researcher/Academic
  • Senior Engineer

Publishing Organization

  • State DOTs


  • Learning
  • Networking

Document Downloads

Project Website

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Issue Date
June 29th, 2019
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