State Installs New Signs to Remind I-70 Drag Racers They’re Being Watched

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Surveillance cameras, via Wikimedia Commons

A new attempt by Maryland authorities to fend off illegal street racing in Baltimore County doesn’t involve any new advanced technology. Rather, it employs the centuries-old advent of the road sign.

WBAL’s John Patti reports the State Highway Administration has installed signs that read, “Video Monitoring In Operation,” going both ways from the edge of Interstate 70 in Woodlawn, a notorious area for drag racing.

Patti reports that police already have cameras in operation there between I-70 and the Baltimore Beltway. The cameras can capture any strange activity happening there (like drag racing) and notify State Highway Patrol troopers to respond to the scene.

The section of the road off Ingleside Avenue near the Park and Ride is a known location for late-night racing. Late last month, state troopers stopped a series of races from happening there at 2 a.m. on a Saturday. They arrived to find dozens of “high performance vehicles blocking traffic and setting up for street races,” some of them blocking traffic. After sending the crowd away, they returned at 3 a.m. to find some of the cars had come back. They arrested one man, 42-year-old Keith Parker, who they said was directing traffic at the starting line and tried to run from troopers to his car, which illegally had dealer plates.

There’s a clear public safety interest here. In addition to messing with traffic, those who participate or watch are at risk. In 2009, two race spectators were killed when a drunk driver passing through the area struck them.

State Highway Administration spokeswoman Valerie Burnett Edgar told WBAL that officials hope the signs will discourage people from considering racing. With the operating cameras and residents calling police about any races set to transpire, “we’re hoping that we can deter drag racing and keeping the area safe,” she said.

Ethan McLeod
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