D.C. Council members Tommy Wells (Ward 6), Mary Cheh (Ward 3) and Marion Barry (Ward 8) have introduced a bill to lower traffic camera fines for low levels of speeding, blocking the box, stop signs and more.
The bill would drop fines to $50 for certain offenses:
●Speeding up to 20 mph over the limit.
●Blocking the box.
●Not yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
●Not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign.
●Not coming to a complete stop before turning right on red.
●Turning right on red when not allowed.
There are two things explicitly not on this list: speeding more than 20 mph over the limit, and running a red light.
At the task force meetings, participants expressed a desire to keep higher fines for these. They felt that more excessive speeding is far more reckless and not something one can chalk up to not paying close attention, or a road designed for a too-high speed, or something like that.
For red lights, the task force heard evidence that while there isn’t a relationship between the size of speed fines and compliance, there is one for red lights. Many felt that running red lights is something drivers more clearly recognize is wrong. I’ve still heard drivers argue that running a red light is better than coming to a stop because of the risk of getting rear-ended, or dispute the timings of yellow lights, but MPD’s Lisa Sutter said that she is focusing on enforcing the more egregious red light running.
D.C. is going to start rolling out cameras for some of these infractions that don’t have cameras now, like not yielding to pedestrians. Many drivers don’t understand that it’s wrong to make a turn quickly across a crosswalk and block a pedestrian’s path. MPD has promised a substantial public information campaign, but an appropriate level of fine will hopefully ensure that there isn’t too much backlash against stopping this very dangerous behavior.
[Continue reading David Alpert’s post at Greater Greater Washington.]
David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.