In the budget released today, Mayor Gray has allocated money to keep many traffic camera fines, which D.C. recently lowered, from automatically rising again. He will also propose raising fines a tiny bit for moderate speeding and considerably for major speeding.
Last year, D.C. Council members Tommy Wells, Mary Cheh and Marion Barry introduced a bill to lower fines for speeding up to 20 mph over the limit, for blocking the box, turning right on red without stopping, and other violations. This responded to public sentiment that fines were too high and that camera tickets were an unfair cash cow for the District.
The original bill reduced fines to $50 for speeding up to 20 mph but left high fines ($200) for speeds beyond that, on the logic that such egregious speeding is really reckless and clearly intentional. Phil Mendelson, however, pushed to modify the bill to use a linear scale instead of one with a sudden jump.
Lowering the fines cost money, and the council didn’t find enough of it to cover the cost of lowering all speed fines. Instead, the fine for speeding 11-15 mph over the limit only dropped to $92. It would have made more sense to use the limited funds to reduce the lower-speed fines first instead of the higher-speed ones, but that’s not what happened.
[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.