Baltimore officials announced this week a renewed emphasis on police making more traffic stops if drivers violate traffic laws, in response to an increase in vehicle crashes and road rage incidents.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, during an interview Wednesday with WBAL NewsRadio, attributed the reprioritization on traffic stops for police officers to the decrease in homicides in the city. His comments follow remarks Police Commissioner Richard Worley made on Saturday in an interview on WBAL NewsRadio with retired veteran journalist Jayne Miller on the same issue.

“This is about folks that are violating traffic laws. ... When people are not obeying traffic laws, when they’re speeding, when they’re blowing through stop signs, they will be pulled over,” Scott said.

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“And this is something that not only came from me to the commissioner, but we hear this from every single community leader, every resident, every councilperson, about why doesn’t the Police Department go back to enforcing traffic laws because people are driving like maniacs,” he added.

A Baltimore Banner analysis found fatal pedestrian accidents are rising in Maryland, but dropped slightly in Baltimore in 2023.

As questions loom about whether the department has the manpower to implement increased traffic enforcement measures, a Baltimore Police spokesperson confirmed to The Banner that as of March 7, the department has 2,003 sworn officers but is budgeted to have 2,599 for the year.

Worley said he’s fed up with drivers treating traffic signs and speed limits like an option. The commissioner said drivers are disregarding speed limits, traffic signs and other traffic laws, jeopardizing public safety for everyone who uses the roads and causing more fatal crashes and severe injuries.

He also said there are at least one to two shootings per week stemming from the proliferation of guns in the city and the rage people are expressing on the roads that would not have occurred five to six years ago.

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“I have not seen so much road rage in my career as we have in the last couple years. And what’s happening is so many people are carrying guns, and the road rage is leading to more and more shootings,” Worley said on Saturday.

A new plan expected to roll out in the coming weeks for the enhanced patrol and increased traffic stops for traffic violations is in works, according to Worley.

Penelope Blackwell is a Breaking News reporter with The Banner. Previously, she covered local government in Durham, NC, for The News & Observer. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Morgan State University and her master’s in journalism from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

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