Don't Block the Box Campaign

In an effort to help ease traffic congestion, the Department of Transportation is launching the “Don’t Block the Box” traffic safety campaign.  This initiative aims to educate commuters and promote the safety of drivers and pedestrians traveling within the city’s busy intersections. This will also help curb gridlock and increase safety at Baltimore intersections. 

Throughout the downtown area and beyond, traffic congestion occurs when motorists block intersections and restrict the movement of other vehicles.  Drivers that enter an intersection or marked crosswalk without sufficient space to clear the other side prohibit cross traffic from moving.  Blocking an intersection causes gridlock, especially in the downtown area, because motorists with a green light are not able to proceed through the intersection. 

Warning Period: September 11- October 14, 2018.

Enforcement Begins: October 15, 2018

What does it mean when I block the box?

When you block the box, you have entered an intersection when cars on the other side prevent you from making it all the way through. If your light turns red before you can get out the intersection, you’re blocking cross traffic from moving forward and preventing mobility in crosswalks and bike lanes. In other words, if you block the box, you are traffic! 

What should I do to avoid blocking the box?

To avoid blocking the box, you should wait to enter an intersection until you are sure you can make it all the way through the intersection. Wait behind the stop bar, not in the crosswalk, and look to see if the vehicles in front of you on the other side of the intersection have left enough room for you to make it through without stopping in the crosswalk on the other side.

Will I receive a Fine for Blocking the Box? 

The fine for a vehicle obstructing or impeding the free flow of traffic in an intersection or marked crosswalk is $125.

What about if drivers behind me are honking and want me to go?

If you can’t clear an intersection, don’t enter the intersection. Entering the intersection may stop the drivers behind you from honking, but if cross traffic can’t get through because of you – those drivers will probably honk as well and you will receive a $125 fine. 

Are there any dangers associated with blocking the box?

There are many dangers associated with blocking the intersection. The intersection must be clear at all times from all vehicle traffic with the exception of emergency vehicles responding to emergency calls. Additionally, blocking the box can cause pedestrians to weave between cars if the crosswalk is impacted, decreasing their visibility to other travelers.