Maryland lawmaker pushes for cameras on Indian Head Highway after deadly crash

It's known as one of the most dangerous roads in our region, and now efforts are underway to put additional speed cameras on Indian Head Highway (Route 210).

There have been more than 1,000 crashes on the road in the last three years, including one on Dec. 30 that left three children dead.

The state lawmaker pushing for the new cameras doesn't expect it will be an easy process.

Del. Kriselda Valderrama (D-Prince George's Co.) sponsored the bill that put the first and only speed camera on the highway at the intersection of Old Fort Road last year. Tickets are $40.

Because Indian Head Highway is a state road, the General Assembly must agree on installing traffic cameras. Valderrama says while the bill ultimately passed, she did see pushback.

"I had a lot of colleagues from across the aisle, from the same aisle, from different jurisdictions of the state that were against it," she said. "I mean, as a matter of fact, they were like, 'Valderrama, my God, are you crazy? It's just a money generator. Why do you want to do that? People hate speed cameras.'"

She says she's expecting the same response this time after announcing plans for a second bill that would install additional cameras, Valderrama says she'd like to see at least six on the roadway, but she's still finalizing the legislation. She also wants a roving camera.

"Because people expect the camera where it is, as it is now, but if you had one that was mobile, people wouldn't know where to look for it," Valderrama said.

There are renewed calls for action after the Dec. 30 crash where a suspected drunk driver plowed into the back of a family's car. Five-year-old twins and their one-year-old brother didn't survive, and their parents were injured. The family had been coming from church.

At a press conference several days later, Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and Police Chief Hank Stawinski vowed to beef up enforcement, and showed support for more cameras.

"To have the county executive and chief of police on board is a huge deal," said Valderrama, who also attended the press conference.

Now it's a matter of convincing lawmakers in Annapolis.

"I can tell you, I can already forecast that I will get commentary from colleagues saying, 'You just passed this bill last year, Valderrama, why are you bringing it back? It's too soon,'" she said. "I can guarantee you. I'm not a gambler. but I can bet that that will be one of my hurdles this coming session."

The General Assemblies in both Maryland and Virginia convene for the 2019 session on Wednesday.