By Brandon BieltzDecember 4, 2012
A heavy foot on the gas pedal can translate into a lighter wallet or even the need to find alternate ways of getting around Fort Meade.
From the residential areas to security gates, police officers from the Directorate of Emergency Services are tracking down drivers speeding on Fort Meade roads and issuing citations that begin at $110.
Adding to the risks of speeding, Army regulations can ban frequent speeders from driving on post.
Through residential complaints and officers observing speeding trends, DES has identified hotshots on post while officers continually patrol the areas in an effort to manage speeders.
"They'll find the people that are speeding and tend to sit there until [the officers] settled the problem that day and come back the next day to do the same thing," said Fort Meade Police Lt. George Manning, DES traffic chief. "They sit there and write tickets until they settle the problem down."
Speeding hotspots also are identified through complaints from the community.
"We'll send somebody out there and do a little more enforcement in that area," Manning said. "Most of speeding complaints are coming from residents. Unfortunately, it's more or less somebody who lives in that residential area that's speeding."
Some of the top speeding locations are in Normandy Bluffs on Reece Road and at security gates and near schools where the speed limit drops to 15 mph.
While speeding tickets begin at $110, the lowest fine for speeding in a school or construction area increases substantially.
Tickets in one of these areas begin at $290.
"People tend to not want to follow that speed limit because it's so slow," Manning said. "It's 15 mph for a reason. There's school-age pedestrians that are walking in the area."
Manning said speed limits are strictly enforced at the gates where people speed in and out of the installation. While most of the enforcement is done before vehicles exit the actual gates, officers can chase down speeders after they've passed through the gates.
"We do have a pretty large zone where you're still on federal property," Manning said. "We can still pull you over and issue a citation."
DES follows Maryland motor vehicle laws for citations but also incorporates Army Regulation 190-5. Using a point-based system, the regulation takes note of repeated offenders, which can result in revoking driving privileges on post.
For example, a speeding ticket issued for no more than 10 mph over the posted speed limit is three points. Six points in six months result in a letter to the offender's command.
According to the regulation, more than 12 points in 12 consecutive months or 18 points in 24 consecutive months can result in the suspension or revocation of driving privileges.
To track down speeders, all patrol cars have a mobile radar unit that can catch speeders at the press of a button.
Lasers and radar guns are also used by the more than 30 officers who have been trained to use the high-tech equipment.
"Folks need to just abide by the speed limit or they're going to get a ticket," Manning said. "That's the bottom line."