“Don’t Block the Box” Campaign Aims to Change Baltimore’s Driving Habits

Most of us know the feeling of dread that rush hour traffic unleashes. With the length of rush hour extending earlier into the afternoon and later in the evening, it’s nearly impossible to beat. With most people leaving the city for the suburbs at 5 p.m., Baltimore’s streets turn into a beehive of anxious motorists looking for creative ways to get where they’re going. No matter what you do, though, when there’s gridlock, attempting to maneuver around it will increase the risk of a car crash and do very little to help you advance.

The City of Baltimore aims to curb crashes and fatalities that occur due to bad decisions made behind the wheel. 32% of all pedestrian accidents in the entire state of Maryland happen in Baltimore. Some of these accidents happen when pedestrians need to weave around cars that are trapped in the intersection because they chose to keep moving forward without having enough space to fully cross the street. These vehicles pose a danger to everyone on the road, which is why the “Don’t Block the Box” campaign made headway in 2018.

What is “Don’t Block the Box” in Baltimore?

“Don’t Block the Box” is a traffic safety campaign that seeks to reduce traffic crashes that happen when people block the intersection. The “box” in “Don’t Block the Box” refers to the section of the road between traffic lights that drivers must clear before the light changes. A person who enters the intersection but fails to cross it completely before the light changes to red may now face a $125 penalty.

Cars that get stuck in intersections cause congestion and confusion among drivers. Drivers who have the right of way end up blocked by these drivers. Often, drivers with the right of way must either find their way around these drivers or stay put. Many drivers in rush hour traffic do all they can to keep moving; however, maneuvering around stuck vehicles in intersections is dangerous and can cause drivers to strike other vehicles or pedestrians who also have the right to the crosswalk.

Originally, when legislation was first proposed, blocking the intersection would have led to a fine of $90 and 1 point against a Maryland driver’s license. Today, the penalty is a steeper $125 fine with no license points.

How to Avoid a Ticket for Blocking the Box in Baltimore

All you have to do to avoid a fine for “blocking the box” is to judge how much space and time you have when it’s your turn to cross a street. If it doesn’t look like your car will keep out of the intersection upon crossing, stay put. Even if drivers behind you honk at you, it’s important to obey the rule. Keeping the road clear is important to allow the flow of traffic and the passing of emergency response vehicles. If you move forward and get stuck, the drivers coming the other way will honk at you and you will pose a safety hazard.

Fight Traffic Charges with a Baltimore Traffic Attorney on Your Side

Anyone who crawls into an intersection and gets stuck after the light turns red is subject to a $125 fine. It may be possible to have the fine dismissed with the help of a traffic lawyer in Baltimore.

Attorney Hillel Traub of The Law Office of Hillel Traub has extensive experience defending all types of traffic charges throughout Maryland. As a former Assistant Attorney General for the Maryland MVA, he knows how they function and his knowledge can greatly assist your case. If you face other traffic charges such as DUI, driving with a suspended license, reckless driving, excessive speeding, or another criminal traffic charge, he can help you present an effective defense and represent you in court. Contact our law firm for a free consultation by calling (410) 580-1100 or complete our contact form.