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A new kind of red light district

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If you are traveling to D.C. over the holidays, be forewarned. The District of Columbia has expanded its arsenal of automated traffic enforcement cameras throughout various corridors of the city.

Starting on Sat. Nov. 23, the district activated 100 next-generation traffic cameras, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Motorists will now have to pass through stop-sign cameras, intersection speed cameras and crosswalk cameras. Truck drivers, bus drivers and commercial vehicle drivers need to be on the lookout for “oversize truck” cameras. And all drivers will be subject to red-light cameras.

“The city is now awash in automated traffic cameras, including red-light cameras and speed cameras,” John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs, said in a statement.  “The new cameras will nab drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians and cyclists. In addition, a battery of newfangled intersection speed cameras will ticket motorists who speed up to beat the traffic light. “

For 30 days the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) will only issue warning citations to motorists caught by the new cameras. After the grace period ends on Dec. 30, drivers will be hit with fines.

The new camera locations are “based on a variety of criteria, including sites with crashes and injuries, calls for service, high speed volume, near schools, or in zones prohibited for use by certain commercial vehicles,” according to the MPD.

To prepare motorists, the MPD is publicizing the new camera enforcement locations around the city. The list includes:

•   32 new portable stop-sign cameras located near schools.
•   24 intersection speed camera units that target drivers speeding through an intersection to beat a traffic signal. The fines range from $50 to $300, depending on the clocked speed.
•   20 gridlock camera units to identify vehicles that “block the box,” and fail to clear the intersection.The fine is $50.
•   16 pedestrian right-of-way or crosswalk cameras to identify vehicles that fail to stop for a pedestrian. Failure to give the right of way brings a $75 fine.



•   Eight oversize vehicle cameras that ticket truck and bus drivers who drive vehicles on a residential street, such as the 1100 block of 4th Street NE or the 1300 block of Independence Ave. SE. Fine: $150.

The fine for running a red light is $150.

The District implemented its photo, red-light enforcement program in 1999. The MPD has dubbed the next-gen automated enforcement camera program “D.C. Street Safe” because it’s designed to combat aggressive and dangerous driving habits that endanger other motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, the city generated $91 million from automated traffic camera tickets during fiscal year 2012.  During the year it issued 91,550 red-light camera tickets that generated $12.9 million in revenue.

In its fiscal 2014 proposed budget, the mayor’s office announced policy initiatives designed to increase the city’s general fund revenue by $75.1 million, with more than a third of that total, $31.7 million, coming from additional automated traffic camera enforcement revenue the city hopes to get by expanding its network of cameras.

 


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