Traffic fines for speeding, running red lights, making illegal turns and other violations would increase sharply--some by as much as $50--under regulations proposed yesterday by the District of Columbia government.
The proposal was described by D.C. officials as an attempt to revise about 100 outmoded fines, some of which have remained unchanged for years.
"Some fines were absurdly low and they had not been raised in a long period of time," said Gary Altman, the D.C. Transportation Department's general counsel.
Under the proposal, the fine for going through a red light, one of the most frequent violations, would increase from $25 to $75. The fine for ignoring a stop sign would rise from $15 to $50. For making an improper turn, the penalty would be raised from $10 to $25.
Driving the wrong way on a one-way street would bring a $50 fine instead of the current $10 penalty. The fine for driving without rear lights would rise from $5 to $25.
Penalties for speeding would increase with the severity of the violation. Driving up to 10 miles an hour above a speed limit would lead to a $15 fine, compared with $10 today, for example, while at 16 to 20 miles over the limit, the penalty would be $50 rather than the present $20. At 21 to 25 miles above the limit, the fines would be $75 instead of today's $25. At 25 miles or more over the limit, the fine would be raised from $50 to $100.
The new penalties, scheduled to be published Friday in the D.C. Register, are tentatively set to go into effect in 45 days, according to city officials. No public hearing is required. Officials said, however, that they may alter or reconsider the proposed fines as a result of comments from residents or from government or private organizations.
The Transportation Department recently increased fines by $5 each for seven parking violations, ranging from double-parking to leaving a car too near a bus stop. Altman said the department is also considering possible increases in fines for other parking infractions as well as violations by taxi drivers, bicyclists and jaywalkers.