Baltimore to ticket drivers that 'block the box'

Posted at 3:53 PM, Apr 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-19 01:23:13-04

‘Block the Box’ fines are back in Baltimore.

The city announced Wednesday plans to ticket drivers who block intersections with a $90 fine and a point on their license.

Lunchtime in downtown Baltimore is busy – a noisy, rambunctious, mad dash that occasionally stops when the box is blocked.

“It’s not that we want to ticket, we want the traffic to move safely. We want pedestrians to be able to cross safely through intersections. We want bikes to travel safely. We want buses to be on time,” Michelle Pourciau, the director for transportation in Baltimore, said.

She says as spring rolls into summer, officers will be out making sure drivers aren’t sitting in the middle of intersections causing traffic issues, and if they are – be prepared to pay.

“Motorists who block the box cause traffic congestion delays and prohibits vehicles from passing through the intersection safely,” Pourciau said.

It’s part of the city’s new traffic safety initiative.

One that pinpoints driver and pedestrian safety.

“Pedestrians usually have the right of way, but that’s not really a well-known fact anymore,” one driver said.

“People are still driving distracted on our roadways and it’s not because of a lack of public awareness. Everyone is doing their best, not only here in Maryland and Baltimore, but across the nation, to educate, motorists about the dangers of distracted driving,’ Ragina Averella, with AAA Mid-Atlantic, said.

As Baltimore remains one of the highest areas in the state when it comes to pedestrian accidents, injuries, and deaths, city leaders want driver awareness and police enforcement are the only way those numbers will come down.

“I’d get behind that. I would definitely make sure that pedestrians have the safety because if I was one of them I would want to be safe as well,” another driver said.

A collaborative effort to make the roadways safe.

“We’re working with MTA on travel time improvement and so you know we’ve been doing a lot with signal prioritization for transit way. In the end, reducing crashes and fatalities is really what we want to achieve,” Pourciau said.

The warning period for the ‘block the box’ law begins on May 1st.

For about a month, you’ll get a warning and then enforcement begins a short time later.