Baltimore drivers could soon be getting fines for “blocking the box.” That’s getting caught in the middle of an intersection when the light changes and tying up traffic. It’s one of a number of new traffic safety enforcement measures throughout the city.
Michelle Pourciau, director of the city’s Department of Transportation, announced Wednesday that drivers who block the box will get warning tickets starting May first. Come June first, those tickets will come with a $90 fine and a point on a motorist’s driving license.
She said each year about 20,000 crashes occur in the city, at least partly because of blocking the box.
“Baltimore has remained consistently one of the five jurisdictions in the state with high pedestrian crashes, injuries, and fatalities,” said Pourciau.
The Blocking the Box Initiative is part a slew of traffic safety campaigns to reduce the number of fatal crashes.
“Messaging will cover issues such as pedestrian and bicycle safety, speeding and red light running, seat belt usage, and impaired driving,” said Pourciau.
According to an annual AAA Foundation survey, nearly half of all drivers self-report recently talking on a hand-held phone, and 35 percent report sending a text message or an email while driving. Pourciau says her department will work with city police to train officers on traffic enforcement, and to “target impaired, distracted or aggressive drivers along with click it or ticket seat belt safety campaign.”
Traffic enforcement officers will be able to ticket drivers for these infractions.